Coronavirus in Camden: Updates on Covid-19
Latest updates from 'worst public health crisis in a generation'
Friday, 13th March 2020 — By CNJ REPORTING TEAM: Richard Osley Tom Foot Dan Carrier Helen Chapman Sam Ferguson and Calum Fraser
- STARMER: ‘CHANCELLOR MUST OFFER MORE’
- CAMDEN COUNCIL LEADER PLEDGES SUPPORT
- PARKS BOSSES ENCOURAGE EXERCISE IN PRIMROSE HILL AND REGENT’S PARK
- HAMPSTEAD THEATRE SHUTS
- CAMDEN MARKET STAYS OPEN
- SOME PUBS CLOSE VOLUNTARILY
- VENUES SAY GOVERNMENT ADVICE WILL PREVENT THEM GETTING INSURANCE
- ROYAL FREE HOSPITAL CANCELS BOARD MEETINGS
- NEIGHBOURS FORM WHATSAPP GROUPS TO HELP ELDERLY
- EUSTON FOODBANK CALLS FOR MILK DONATIONS
OUR PLEDGE: The Camden New Journal will report on the Covid-19 coronavirus to provide, as readers demand, as much local information as possible. We pledge to do this in a responsible method, without lurid, ‘clickbait’ headlines. We will signpost to sources of information where appropriate. We will be including the current medical advice on how to approach the Covid-19 pandemic. You can contact us at 0207 419 9000 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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SCHOOLS WILL SHUT GATES UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE ON FRIDAY
The government has announced that schools will remain closed until further notice as of Friday.
Education chief councillor Angela Mason said: “We have been working on plans for continuing to deliver free school meals and provide support to children who have special needs or those who are most vulnerable.”
The advice is for all schools, nurseries, sixth forms and further education colleges, except to children who are considered vulnerable.
It is also confirmed that exams will no longer go ahead.
The announcement comes after a letter from the heads of the NEU calling on the government to enforce closures.
Gerald Clark, NEU officer for Camden, said: “The purpose of the letter was sent on the basis that it is not possible to see schools able to function much longer with staff losses.”
WEST HAMPSTEAD COMMUNITY CENTRE CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS
West Hampstead Community Centre close classes but remain open to provide ongoing support for the borough’s most vulnerable.
Calls are being made for volunteers to help deliver food drops to the elderly during the coronavirus outbreak.
Euan Grimley, administrator at the centre, said: “We are having to play it day by day. The centre is still open but it is just me coming in and classes are being cancelled.”
For more information call 020 7794 3729 or email email@example.com
See story at http://camdennewjournal.com/article/west-hampstead-community-centre-call-for-volunteers-to-help-deliver-food-to-the-elderly
CHANCELLOR’S LOANS OFFER
Chancellor Rishi Sunak tonight (Tuesday) unveiled a £330 billion package to help business adversely affected by the spread of coronavirus, which has seen some pubs and restaurants close and small businesses suffering from a sudden catastrophic loss of trade. He said loans would be made available at an attractive rates, while announcing extended business rate.
Holborn and St Pancras MP Sir Keir Starmer said in response: “There is no support for millions of renters, no new money for social care or the elderly, there is no clarity on employment support and no new money for already stretched public services. There is nothing concrete to protect industries most at risk and those who rely on them.”
COUNCIL LEADER: NOBODY WILL BE LEFT BEHIND
Camden’s leader Councillor Georgia Gould has pledged to support the community get through the epidemic, and urged people to work to help others. Her measures include a pledge that no council tenants will be evicted if they are affected by Covid-19.
“We will be flexible and are prepared to work differently if necessary to support our residents,” she said. “We will also be introducing services in direct response to the virus including rigorous cleaning of our estates, leisure centres, libraries and public facilities.”
“We will not allow any evictions from our council housing if there is clear evidence that the resident has been unable to pay rent as a direct result of the coronavirus. We urge government to give clear guidance on evictions and ensure that no-one is deprived of a home and shelter at this time because of their health. We urge other landlords to do the same. Nobody should have to choose between their home and their health.”
CAMDEN MARKET STAYS OPEN
One of London’s biggest tourist attractions – Camden Market – remains open. The new Buck Street Market, a complex of brightly coloured container units which food stalls and shops moved into last week, was also still trading today.
PARKS STILL OPEN
Parks chiefs encourage exercising in Primrose Hill and Regent’s Park. “Staying fit and well is particularly important at the moment,” says Royal Parks director.
HAMPSTEAD THEATRE SHUTS
Celebrated theatre shuts its doors warning ‘box office income is critical’.
SOME PUBS CLOSE VOLUNTARILY
After the government advised people not to go out to pubs and avoid social contacts, some venues have decided to close voluntarily. The Sheephaven Bay in Camden Town has been a long term supporter of the CNJ’s hamper appeal at Christmas. “I wish everyone to be safe and hopefully when it is all over we can share a pint together,” says landlord Pat Logue.
MUTUAL AID GROUPS WORK TOGETHER
A reminder of those contact details:
Neighbours are setting up social media groups to help ensure friends and elderly get food and help they need.
Here are some of the groups you can join if you would like to volunteer.
You can find out which ward you’re in here: https://www.camden.gov.uk/find-your-ward-and-ward-map
• Belsize Ward https://tinyurl.com/BelsizeCovidMutualAid
• Bloomsbury Ward https://tinyurl.com/BloomsburyCovidMutualAid
• Camden Town with Primrose Ward https://tinyurl.com/CamdenPrimroseCovidMutualAid
• Cantelowes Ward https://tinyurl.com/CantelowesCovidMutualAid
• Fortune Green Ward https://tinyurl.com/FortuneGreenCovidMutualAid
• Frognal & Fitzjohns Ward https://tinyurl.com/FrognalFitzCovidMutualAid
• Gospel Oak Ward https://tinyurl.com/GospelOakCovidMutualAid
• Hampstead Town Ward https://tinyurl.com/HampsteadTownCovidMutualAid
• Haverstock Ward https://tinyurl.com/HaverstockCovidMutualAid
• Highgate Ward https://tinyurl.com/HighgateCovidMutualAid
• Holborn & Covent Garden Ward https://tinyurl.com/HolbornCoventCovidMutualAid
• Kentish Town Ward https://tinyurl.com/KentishTownCovidMutualAid
• Kilburn (two separate groups!) https://tinyurl.com/KilburnCovidMutualAid
• King’s Cross Ward https://tinyurl.com/KingsCrossCovidMutualAid
• Regent’s Park Ward https://tinyurl.com/RegentsParkWardCovidMutualAid
• St Pancras & Somers Town Ward https://tinyurl.com/StPancrasSommersCovidMutualAid
• Swiss Cottage Ward https://tinyurl.com/SwissCottageCovidMutualAid
• West Hampstead Ward https://tinyurl.com/WestHampsteadCovidMutualAid
NEW MEASURES AIMED AT SUPPRESSION INTRODUCED
March 16 PM: The new government advice is that whole households should completely self-isolate for days if any family member begins showing the symptoms of a new continuous cough or a fever. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also said that people should begin social distancing, avoiding going to pubs, theatres and restaurants. Non-essential travel should be avoided. The government’s health advisers have warned that people should not expect this to be solved in a fortnight and measures could be in place for months.
Schools are remaining open.
ROYAl FREE HOSPITAL
The Royal Free London NHS Trust has cancelled its next two board meetings, due for March 25 and April 22, because of the coronavirus.
Volunteers at Euston Foodbank are appealing for milk donations after being hit by the supermarket panic-buying over the weekend.
The donation centre in Lancing Street, which provides three days emergency food to Camden residents in crisis, said it was facing “intense” demand due to the run on food.
A bulletin from its trustees said: “The supermarkets have no UHT milk on the shelves, due to panic buying and for online ordering. Milk is a real problem. Euston Foodbank often has to buy up to 100 litres of milk a week as we get very little donated.”
To contact the Foodbank call 07400053838 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
QUEEN’S CRESCENT COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION
Queen’s Crescent Community Association are setting up a befriending service to help support the elderly during the coronavirus outbreak.
Foyezur Miah, CEO of the QCCA said the centre are looking for volunteers to help with their telephone befriending service.
He said: “In response to organisations cutting down on services, we are trying to do the opposite and do what we can to help.
“Our worry here is that coronavirus is affecting the most vulnerable. We are trying to defy all of that and ensure that as a community we are in regular communication.”
The QCCA are holding a special St Patrick’s Day breakfast on Tuesday 17 at 11am and said they are “business as usual” running a programme of events.
HOLBORN AND ST PANCRAS MP KEIR STARMER CALLS FOR CLARITY
After details of possible new restrictions and measures to combat the spread of coronavirus appeared in selective media outlets, Holborn and St Pancras MP Sir Keir Starmer has called for daily press conferences. He said on Sunday: “It is more important than ever that the Government is providing clear communication to the public about the steps it is taking to mitigate the impact of the outbreak. To allow anonymous and speculative briefings to journalists about a significant step-change in the Government’s response to the outbreak is irresponsible. That is why I am urging the Prime Minister to promise an end to anonymous briefings about this issue.”
QUEUES IN KILBURN
The morning rush at Superdrug in Kilburn High Road
CINEMA IS OPEN… BUT ORDERS EXTRA CLEANING
Up in East Finchley, you can still catch a film at the Phoenix. It has reassured customers that it is:
– Cleaning and sanitising all areas of the cinema more frequently
– Ensuring all staff are aware of the handwashing guidelines
– Ensuring staff are trained with the most up-to-date information for prevention and have all of the equipment they need to follow this
– Making sanitising hand gel available to customers in addition to the handwashing facilities in our toilets
– Asking for your help and cooperation at this time to use contactless payment where possible
UNIVERSITIES SEND STUDENTS HOME
UCL and the London School of Economics are moving to remote working for the rest of the academic year, sending assignments electronically to students. The LSE has reported two cases of Covid-19 connected to it. “The two individuals are students who do not reside in halls of residence,” a statement said. “We are providing the affected students with our full support and following all Public Health England protocols to inform and assist those that may have been in direct contact. Individuals who have come into close contact with the affected students, and those who may need to self-monitor, have been contacted.”
THEATRES CARRY ON
Theatres have not gone the way of sporting events and are still open for business. Camden’s fringe theatres have said the show will go on until any medical advice suggests the curtain should fall.
ARSENAL MANAGER RECOVERING
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has tweeted that he is “feeling better already”, three days after it was announced that he had been diagnosed with the coronavirus. The team’s trip to Brighton, along with the rest of the top league’s fixtures, was postponed today with the Gunners first team self-isolating. “Thanks for your words and support,” said Arteta. “Feeling better already.We’re all facing a huge and unprecedented challenge.Everyone’s health is all that matters right now.Protect each other by following the guidelines and we’ll come through this together.Well done the Premier League for making the right decisions.”
HOMELESS TASKFORCE MEETS
Homeless groups and charities are meeting at the Union Chapel to discuss help for rough sleepers who may be struggling with coronavirus or unable to carry out medical advice on self-isolation or hand hygiene.
You can read an interview with Streets Kitchen’s Jon Glackin HERE.
“For the last week I have been going around with other guys dispensing hand sanitiser to everyone,” he says “I have been going out with a thermometer taking temperatures. I’ve been seeing everyone’s hands, it’s terrible. You got places like McDonald’s, the security won’t let them go in to use the bathroom.
LONDON MARATHON MOVED TO AUTUMN
Runners preparing for the London Marathon have been told it has been put back until October.
Event director Hugh Brasher said: “We know how disappointing this news will be for so many – the runners who have trained for many months, the thousands of charities for which they are raising funds and the millions who watch the race every year.”
LONDON ELECTIONS POSTPONED
Voters will no longer go the polls in London on May 7. Mayoral and London Assembly elections have been postponed until 2021. Sadiq Khan will continue as Mayor of London.
LONDON IRISH CENTRE CANCELS ST PATRICK’S DAY EVENTS
Ellen Ryan, chief exec at the London Irish Centre, confirmed earlier that its St Patrick’s Day events have been cancelled. “We are also very conscious of the safety of our audiences, artists, volunteers, and staff,” she said. “We simply cannot justify bringing together crowds of people, especially the vulnerable, in the midst of this pandemic.”
HAMPSTEAD OBSERVATORY CLOSED TO PUBLIC
THE Hampstead Scientific Society, which manages the Hampstead Observatory’s telescope near Whitestone Pond, said it was taking the decision to close to the public “due to everyone’s responsibility to help slow down the transmission rate” and ease “a huge burden on the health service”.
CAMDEN ROCKS FESTIVAL OFF
Another victim of the spread of coronavirus is the Camden Rocks festival, due to take place in Camden Town in June. Hundreds of bands normally perform at venues across NW1. Although he had considered holding the festival later this year, organiser Chris McCormack told the CNJ he has now decided against it in light of the uncertainty.
QUEEN POSTPONES VISIT TO CAMDEN
Not much detail about this one, as it had not been announced where the Queen was due to visit next week. But Buckingham Palace said this afternoon that a planned trip to Camden had been called off.
ARSENAL PLAYERS IN LOCKDOWN
The Premier League has been suspended until April 3 with uncertainty over whether the season will be finished in full. Arsenal had been due to play Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday but manager Mikel Arteta received a positive diagnosis for Covid-19 on Thursday and is now in self-isolation. First team players and coaches are also staying indoors.
Chelsea’s Calum Hudson-Odoi posted a social media video earlier in which he told fans that he was recovering after being infected. Tests on players with symptoms have also taken place at Leicester City, Watford and Everton.