It is devastating that we are in another national lockdown, but with Covid-19 cases increasing at a dangerous rate and our hospital under extreme pressure, it is vital.
In Croydon the situation is extremely serious. Our Covid-19 incidence rate is now 964 per 100,000 – this has risen from 197 per 100,000 in the second week in December – and we have 241 people now receiving treatment at Croydon University Hospital. At the start of December there were 70, so the situation has escalated rapidly in just a few weeks and with around 600 new cases in our borough every day, our hospitals are at risk of becoming overwhelmed.
My thoughts go out to all those who have lost loved ones and those who are unwell, together with heartfelt thanks to our NHS partners who are working tirelessly to care for them.
Across Croydon, we must all work together to reduce the rate of transmission in our borough, to protect our NHS and to save lives.
The national lockdown means we are all required by law to stay at home, with immediate effect. This is the single most important thing we can all do to keep Croydon safe. We must not leave our homes except for essential reasons including to:
- shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person
- go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home
- exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person, this should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.
- meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one
- seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse)
- attend education or childcare – for those eligible
You can find the national restrictions in full here – www.gov.uk/coronavirus. Please do check them and ensure you know what they mean for you. If you must go out, always remember the NHS guidance on hands, face, space. Approximately one in three people who have coronavirus have no symptoms and could be spreading it without realising, so this advice is vital.
Our colleges, primary and secondary schools will remain open only for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. Early Years settings, including nurseries and childminders, can remain open. All other children will learn remotely until February half term. I know how hard this has been for pupils, teachers and school staff and parents to cope with this change at such short notice, and I want to thank all of them for the incredible strength and resilience they have shown in such challenging circumstances. We are working closely with our schools to support them and our most vulnerable children and young people as much as possible.
During national lockdown, if you are considered to be clinically extremely vulnerable you should not go to work, and only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential. If you haven’t already, make sure you register here on the government website so that you can get access to priority slots for online grocery shopping and also, so that we will know if you need any help. We have a dedicated helpline for residents who need urgent help as a result of Covid-19. Call: 020 8604 7787 – open Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm.
I know how incredibly difficult this is for everyone and the huge impact this has had on all of our lives – and continues to after a very tough year. Clearly, this is not the news any of us hoped for. I want to thank all of you, for everything you are doing, the sacrifices I know you are making – from our children and young people whose education continues to be disrupted, to those who are shielding, businesses who are having to remain closed and all those who are working so hard for our community on the frontline – NHS staff, teachers, care home staff, those working in supermarkets and other essential shops and every single council worker and volunteer. I want to reassure you that as your council, we are doing everything we can for anyone who needs vital help and support and working with all our partners across Croydon to ensure no one is left behind.
If you are struggling at this very challenging time, help is available – you can find information on the Covid-19 pages of our website – on everything from mental health to welfare advice and information on council services.
Together, we will get through this. Stay safe – and stay at home.
Councillor Hamida Ali, leader of the council