Newham Council is issuing regular e-bulletins to residents about what’s happening at the Council and in the borough, including the latest information about how we are responding to Covid-19.
Sign up for future bulletins by visiting www.newham.gov.uk
You can read the latest message from Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz below:
Covid-19 will be disrupting our lives for a long time ahead. It has been the challenge of our generation – changing every aspect of our lives. Our family life. Our social life. Our religious life. Our work life.
Despite the extreme adjustments we have had to make to our day-to-day existence – you have, in the vast majority, risen to the challenge in a remarkable way. Thank you.
What is clear is that while some measures are being eased – we are still in lockdown. Frustrating as it may seem about not seeing family or friends, for now, the advice I would give to you is the same as I’ve said before. If you can stay at home, you should. Coronavirus is still with us. We must not allow it to regain a grip.
Avoid public transport if possible. It won’t be able to accommodate the numbers it did before Covid-19 hit. Even if the system is at full capacity, social distancing will mean that only one in ten people will be able to use it. Try walking or cycling, which are better options than cars. A return to road travel will have huge implications for air quality in Newham. If our roads become clogged, the significant improvements we’ve seen to air quality will be lost – putting those with respiratory problems linked to Covid-19 at greater risk.
We have started to widen pavements on high streets to give you extra space to queue outside shops and be able to walk or cycle past at a safe distance. We are consulting with our disabled residents to make sure the changes don’t impact their ability to get around.
Your health and safety remains our priority. We’ve pulled out the stops to protect the most vulnerable and minimise the spread of Covid-19. We have worked with resident-led mutual aid groups, faith communities and the voluntary sector to feed the most vulnerable – and we are indebted to the thousands of residents who are helping during this public health emergency. We’ve collected bins and swept the streets; stopped retailers trading illegally; supported children with special educational needs and offered youth services through Zoom.
The Prime Minister has provided further information about the Government’s much heralded ‘indicative’ pathway to an end of Covid-19 lockdown in the UK. It’s not straightforward, nor is it going to be easy. The Government’s strategy is being examined by the Council in detail as we finalise plans for this new phase in Newham, which will be published on www.newham.gov.uk but like all councils in the country, we’re waiting for further guidance from the Government across the range of measures it has set out, including on community testing, contact tracing and how to monitor and respond to localised ‘hotspots’.
The strategy will also inform our local recovery plans for the borough which will be shaped by our commitment to responding to poverty and inequality in as well as addressing the climate emergency.
But to deliver those plans, we need the money to do so. Newham has received two payments totalling just £20.2m from the Government to fund the extra services needed to respond to the crisis so far. We and other areas like us who have high levels of poverty, deprivation, and health inequality and who are most affected by the impact of coronavirus in terms of mortality, deserve much more. That’s why I’ve written to the Prime Minister calling for a Covid-19 Deprivation Premium on top of what we have received.
We are going through an extremely difficult time as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, but I am confident that when this challenging time comes to a manageable point, we will be stronger for it.
In the meantime, during this unprecedented time it is imperative that the public health of residents in Newham comes first. That’s why we must keep up with the restrictions in place, because we can’t risk the prospects of a second wave.
Rokhsana Fiaz OBE
Mayor of Newham
Read more Covid-19 updates from Mayor Fiaz or follow her on Twitter @rokhsanafiaz