Opinion: More vital than ever to stick together

PUBLISHED: 08:30 04 April 2020

Unmesh Desai AM has been inspired by some people during the coronavirus pandemic.

Unmesh Desai AM has been inspired by some people during the coronavirus pandemic.


These are extraordinary and challenging times and it is more vital than ever that our community comes together in compassion and solidarity.

The rules are clear: self-isolate if you are ill, only leave home to exercise once a day or to infrequently pick up essentials, and stick rigidly to the government’s guidance on social distancing. Keep washing your hands with soap regularly for at least 20 seconds.

These are instructions, not requests, and they will help us to save lives.

It is also important that we look out for our most vulnerable neighbours and offer a lifeline of support. On this note, it has been truly inspiring to see the number of local initiatives and mutual aid groups that have been set up in the last few weeks.

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For those self-isolating or physically unable to volunteer, please consider making a financial donation, where possible, to organisations such as local food banks and domestic abuse charities who are currently under huge pressures.

I have recently been in touch with the borough commander to discuss how the police will be adapting their approach to help contain the outbreak and working across Newham to keep us safe. I have also offered my help, where needed, to promote community cohesion.

The unwavering dedication of our officers should come as a reassurance to all Londoners during these difficult times, and we can play our part by supporting them as much as possible.

I have also been liaising with local representatives to look at ways to clamp down on the stockpiling of food and essential items, and the shameful profiteering that we have been seeing on the back of it.

If you have concerns about this, please get in touch with me at, or report specific instances of any local price inflation offences to Newham Council.

Finally, I would like to say a huge thank you to the NHS staff and all essential workers who continually and selflessly put themselves at risk to lead the frontline effort against this pandemic. You are all amazing.

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