View from the town hall: New lockdown has come too late

PUBLISHED: 08:30 07 November 2020

Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz says Newham has been disproportionately affected by Covid-19.

Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz says Newham has been disproportionately affected by Covid-19.


I’ve been calling for a national “circuit break” lockdown to halt the spread of Covid-19 for weeks. I welcome the government’s decision for a national lockdown, but it has undoubtedly come too late.

In the first wave of the virus, Newham saw the highest death rate in London. Tragically, we have already lost more than 320 residents to Covid-19.

Our people and our local businesses have been disproportionately affected – with over 44,000 jobs lost or in serious jeopardy, more than 27,000 additional people claiming benefits, and 17,000 on furlough.

In a victory for local government, which has been calling for an extension to the original furlough scheme, the government has agreed to reinstate it for the month – but this is a short reprieve. With a further lockdown must come additional financial support to properly safeguard incomes.

Councils must also be given full funding to provide the public health and support services needed to safeguard communities and protect the most vulnerable.

I know many will be deeply concerned both about the impact of the virus, and about the impact of further restrictions on you and your families, but we must act to stem virus spread.

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The restrictions are similar to March, with the key exception that schools will stay open:

• Pubs and restaurants must close, takeaways and deliveries can continue

• All non-essential shops, leisure centres, gyms and entertainment venues must close

• You must stay at home except for education; work that cannot be done from home; exercise; medical reasons; shopping for food and essentials, or to care for others

You must NOT mix with other households indoors or in private gardens

Full details of the rules, and information on assistance and support can be found on the Newham Council website.

If you experience any Covid-19 symptoms, you must self-isolate and urgently seek a test.

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