Opinion: We have to work together to beat virus

PUBLISHED: 08:30 28 March 2020

Mayor of Newham Rokhsana Fiaz urges residents to work together to beat coronavirus.

Mayor of Newham Rokhsana Fiaz urges residents to work together to beat coronavirus.

Andrew Baker

We are in the midst of an unprecedented public health crisis caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

People in Newham have died, others are sick and it’s a solemn reminder of the steps all of us need to take to stop the virus spreading.

We all have a responsibility to adapt to the changes required in our daily lives, and in our personal behaviour. I cannot emphasis enough how important it is for all of us to practise the life-saving advice on health, travel and work.

The way Newham Council is delivering some of our services to you is also having to change. See the latest situation at

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We are looking to create a Newham Local Hub to support those residents we know are vulnerable and needy in our community. We want to make sure support is directed where it is most needed, whether that is delivering medicine, food parcels, providing information or sharing tasks like shopping or picking up medications.

We particularly want to support those who are over 70, those with underlying health conditions, lower income households with vulnerabilities, children who are eligible for free school meals, and mothers with no recourse to public funds. We cannot do this without the help of the voluntary sector, faith groups, local businesses, community groups and volunteers and all our efforts will be co-ordinated.

I’ve also seen busy high streets, queues in and outside shops and continuing panic buying in Newham. This needs to stop. It is harming the most vulnerable in our community and the vital NHS and other frontline staff who cannot take the time out to queue.

Our trading standards team are also aware of price-hikes in some local shops. If you see this, report it to the Competition and Markets Authority at I have written to the government to demand councils be given powers to address this immoral practice at a time of crisis.

We have to work together to get this pandemic under control. Keep up the personal hygiene and health routines, only travel if it is essential.

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