Local coronavirus cases
From Wednesday 16th to Wednesday 23rd September, there were 26 new cases of the virus in Richmond upon Thames.
London has now been put on the government’s “watchlist”. This is concerning news. Extra testing capacity is very welcome, but London’s capacity should never have been diverted elsewhere. The Government must ensure the Test & Trace system is working properly here and across the country. Many of you continue to contact me about the difficulties in accessing tests. See below for my work challenging ministers about this.
NHS COVID-19 App
The NHS contact tracing app is now available to download. It’s really important as many of us as possible download it to help protect each other.
Meeting with new police chief for Richmond
Last week I met with Lis Chapple, the new BCU Commander for South West London. I raised with her my concerns about growing levels of crime and anti-social behaviour in our green spaces in Whitton, Twickenham and Teddington, as well as in Twickenham town centre. In recent months, local police officers have increasingly been called to help central London policing efforts, but Lis contends that there should be less need to do in the coming weeks. Twickenham police station has also reopened, which should provide a stronger police presence and quicker response time in the town centre.
Share your views about Community Safety
Do you have something to say about Crime and Community Safety in your local area? You are invited to join the Council and Police in Community Conversation, share your ideas on local priorities in a series of virtual community engagement events.
To see your local event and register, please go: www.richmond.gov.uk/community_conversation
Standing up for you
I have been raising the challenges with accessing a coronavirus test locally for several weeks with Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, and demanded an apology for the unavailability of tests up and down the country.
Last week I also raised the loophole in the system which many residents had highlighted to me that they were able to secure a test at Twickenham by using the QR code generated by booking a test in Scotland. Although Mr Hancock subsequently suggested I was wrong, I have now shared my evidence with him and this workaround is no longer available, which is important for contact tracing purposes and tracking local infection rates accurately.
The Government has had months to get Covid-19 testing right. With so many unable to access the tests they need, it beggars belief we are in the shambles we are in.
A number of care homes are still reporting a two-week delay in receiving test results. I have asked the Government how they plan to avoid the tragedies of the first wave and ensure all vulnerable people can access tests who need them.
You can also watch a clip from my BBC interview here.
Impact of coronavirus on ethnic minorities
During the Prime Minister’s statement on coronavirus this week, I asked him what actions the government is taking in response to the alarming rates of infection and hospital admissions among BAME groups, following recommendations made by Public Health England in July.
Standing up for those left out of government support schemes
On Thursday, the Chancellor announced a number of measures to support people’s jobs and businesses during this difficult time. These are welcome but I am disappointed that there’s still no support for the millions of people who have been excluded from the Government’s Covid-19 support measures through no fault of their own.
Prior to the Chancellor’s statement, I raised this issue on the BBC.
The Prime Minister’s announcement this week to postpone sporting events was the right decision. Rugby matches that were due to be held in Twickenham next month could have put the health of local residents and fans at risk.
However, it is equally important now that the Government provides support to the RFU and others to help them through this time. I wrote to the Sports Minister shortly before the PM’s announcement and am arranging a meeting with him to discuss support for the RFU and grassroots rugby, whilst matches have to be played behind closed doors.