Newham is ‘central part’ of government’s Covid-19 outbreak plan for the capital

Newham Council wants to know what parents and carers think about sending their children back to scho

Newham Council wants to know what parents and carers think about sending their children back to school. Picture: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

The borough is to take part in a new £300million Covid-19 test and trace service to share best practice with councils across England.

Mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz. Picture: R. Fiaz

Mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz. Picture: R. Fiaz - Credit: Rokhsana Fiaz

Newham will be given money to develop tailored plans to identify and stop the spread of coronavirus outbreaks in places including schools, workplaces, care homes and neighbourhoods.

The local authority will also be responsible for making sure that capacity to test for the virus is deployed effectively to high risk places.

Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz said: “I’m pleased that a bigger role for councils has been recognised. In Newham, we have the highest Covid-19 mortality rate in the country because of deprivation and health inequality, as well as being the most diverse borough in the UK.

“I know that Covid-19 is not an equalising virus, because it has a disproportionate effect on poorer communities and ethnic minorities. So it’s right that we are a central part of London’s outbreak management plan.”

Newham joins Barnet, Camden and Hackney after being named among 11 local authorities in England which will share best practice with other town halls.

The £300m will be divided between English town halls. It is ringfenced with the Department of Health and Social Care and Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government allocating the funding.

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An extra £57m is to be provided to the three devolved administrations with £29m for the Scottish, £18m for the Welsh and £10m for the Northern Ireland governments.

Under the plans, data on the virus’s spread will be shared with local authorities through the Joint Biosecurity Centre to help understanding of how the virus is moving.

Minister for patient safety, suicide prevention and mental health, Nadine Dorries, said: “Local authorities will be vital in the effort to contain Covid-19 at a community level.

“The pandemic requires a national effort but that will only be effective as a result of local authorities, working hand in hand with Public Health England and contact tracers to focus on the containment of local outbreaks.”

The national coronavirus test and tracing service is would combine digital and phone-based contact tracing to identify cases and their close contacts so they can rapidly self-isolate.

More complex outbreaks and situations will be handled in the capital by the London Coronavirus Response Cell.