New Year’s Eve will be very different for all of us this year. And with cases of the new Covid variant spreading rapidly in Croydon and across the country it is so important that residents stay at home and keep following the guidelines.
We have all had to – and need to continue to – make sacrifices in these difficult times and, while the temptation for some will be to celebrate the end of a very challenging year with friends, I can’t stress enough how important it is that we please think of others, stay in and stick to the rules on household mixing.
The figures speak for themselves. In the two weeks from 12 – 25 December there were 5,405 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Croydon, a huge increase from the 1,676 cases the two weeks before. The incidence rate in Croydon is now 779.70 per 100,000 over seven days while the R rate in London has grown to 1.2 – 1.5, meaning more and more people are becoming infected. The borough has also suffered more than 560 coronavirus-related deaths and my thoughts are with everyone who has lost a loved one.
All of us must continue to do our bit to keep each other safe and because of the Tier 4 restrictions we should be staying at home and only leaving for essential reasons such as to get food or medical supplies or if you cannot work from home.
By staying in we are helping to save lives and ease the strain on our wonderful NHS which is under increasing pressure. By not going out we are supporting all of our outstanding doctors, nurses, care home workers and hospital staff who have worked tirelessly over the past year and are now fighting a winter crisis.
In the last 24 hours the government has decided that the reopening of primary and secondary schools in the borough for most children be delayed until 18 January. This will be very upsetting news to many parents and children and we are continuing to work closely with all our schools to provide as much support and advice as we can.
Parents whose children attend primary schools outside of the borough can see if that particular area is affected here while more information on secondary schools and colleges will be published by the government in due course. I would also like to thank all the teachers and school staff who have done their absolute best during a very difficult year to continue to provide our children with an education.
We know that the pandemic has also impacted people’s mental health and doctors have reported sharp increases in the amount of those experiencing loneliness and depression. This New Year’s Eve a friendly phone-call might make all the difference to a neighbour in need. Find out more about mental health support and advice in Croydon. The council also has a dedicated webpage for the range of local and national support services to help you during the pandemic.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the many residents and community groups who have pulled together to help others over the course of this year – from volunteering to do the shopping to helping at food banks and organising online appeals. Alongside our fantastic frontline services and council staff you have kept the borough going and have supported the vulnerable during this time of national crisis. If you’re fit and well and want to volunteer then you can sign up to Croydon Voluntary Action.
Inspired by you all, we launched the #CroydonTogether campaign which shone a light on the many carers, teachers, shop workers, volunteers and council workers who worked to care for, help and support their community during the pandemic. From notes left for Croydon’s refuse workers to deliveries of meals for NHS workers we celebrated the fact that in challenging times Croydon stands together and it has been a privilege to learn about those people who went the extra mile.
We will get through this together if we keep following the rules and stay at home. With encouraging news announced yesterday about the approval of a second vaccine we can look forward to next year with some hope that the worst will soon be behind us.
I would like to wish you all a peaceful New Year with better things to come in 2021. Please stay safe and keep looking out for one another.