I want to thank everyone in New Addington and Fieldway for the fantastic community effort that is helping us to deliver extra Covid-19 testing in the area.
From the hundreds of residents who have already come forward to get tested, to the many local groups helping us get the message out, the response has been incredible. New Addington and Fieldway have demonstrated once again the strength of their community, of which Croydon is rightly proud. I also want to thank our own public health team, officers from across the council and the community volunteers who are working around the clock to deliver this extra testing programme at pace.
I would ask everyone in the area to please, keep going. We’re asking everyone living in New Addington and Fieldway to get a Covid-19 test, whether they have symptoms or not, because Public Health England have detected a case of the variant first identified in South Africa. For the next two weeks, we’re making extra testing available in New Addington and Fieldway, with two mobile testing units, collection and drop-off points for home test kits, and we’ll also be going door-to-door to deliver home test kits to some households. If you live in the area and haven’t yet been tested, please do so as soon as possible – you can help to prevent the virus spreading in your community. Find out more and book a test at www.croydon.gov.uk/CovidTest
Earlier this week the government set out its roadmap for coming out of lockdown and it is very encouraging that pupils could be returning to school on 8 March, with non-essential businesses reopening by 12 April. We are already working with schools across Croydon to support them with this planned return, and continuing to help our businesses access grants and other support – more information on our Covid-19 business pages here.
It is also great to hear that we might soon be able to see family and friends again after so long, with plans for two households or up to six individuals to be allowed to meet outdoors from 29 March. These last few months of lockdown have been hard for everyone so if you are struggling – with finances, accessing supplies or feeling low – please do remember that we are here for you. You can find out more about all the support available on our Covid-19 webpages.
We must all remember that this roadmap is dependent on the government’s four tests, which include infection levels continuing to fall and the successful roll-out of the vaccination programme. Although our infection levels are falling in Croydon, they are still very high, and there are still many people seriously ill in our hospital. Today, the Mayor of London stood down the ‘major incident’ status in London, but warned the city will remain on high alert due to the significant number of Covid-19 cases still in hospitals. For now, it is vital that we all continue to do everything we can to bring infection rates down. This means sticking to the national restrictions and staying at home as much as possible. If you do go out, remember hands, face, space. It is also really important that if you have any Covid-19 symptoms, you get tested. This continues to be a vital part of our defence against the virus, as it helps us to isolate cases and prevent the virus spreading in our communities. Book a test here or call 119. If we want to return to normality, we must all continue to play our part in tackling the virus.
We continue to work closely with our partners in the NHS to support their vaccination roll-out, helping to answer any questions you might have about the vaccine and how it works. It has been good to see so many of you access information events with public health professionals and community representatives in recent weeks, and I would urge anyone who is feeling hesitant about taking the vaccine to find out more from trusted sources, like the NHS website or by speaking to family and friends who have had the vaccine. I shared my own family’s vaccine experience this week and you can watch the video here. If you are aged 64 or over and haven’t yet had the vaccine, you can now book an appointment – contact your GP or book online here.
Have a good weekend, enjoy the warmer weather and most importantly, stay safe.
Councillor Hamida Ali, leader of the council