Council leader issues message on ‘unprecedented challenge’ of coronavirus

PUBLISHED: 17:03 17 March 2020 | UPDATED: 17:03 17 March 2020

Redbridge council leader Cllr Jas Athwal issued a statement in response to the extension of the coronavirus lockdown. Picture: Ken Mears

Redbridge council leader Cllr Jas Athwal issued a statement in response to the extension of the coronavirus lockdown. Picture: Ken Mears

Photography by Ken Mears

Redbridge Council Leader Jas Athwal issued the following message to all residents of the borough regarding coronavirus:

“We are facing an unprecedented challenge in the form of Covid-19 but let me reassure you, we are equal to this challenge.

“Our council staff are working extremely hard to prepare and I have been carefully overseeing the Redbridge response in partnership with our local NHS.

“It’s times like this that we must remember how important and supportive our local community is. Already I know many of you have reached out to friends, neighbours, and to the council to offer help. It’s this community spirit that will serve us all well over the coming weeks and months and I want to thank all those who have contacted me personally to volunteer.

“Redbridge Council will be coordinating volunteers who wish to support their neighbours and will send you more information on this in the coming days.

“There is so much we can do as individuals and as a community to stop the spread of COVID-19 and to protect the vulnerable. Please read the advice below and let us all do our part to overcome this challenge.

“The Government advice is:

“If you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus illness (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms started.

“Anyone living with someone with a new continuous cough or a temperature above 37.8° should also stay at home for fourteen days from when symptoms started.

“People should avoid ‘non-essential’ travel and contact with others.

“The Government has advised we each take the following steps:

“Ensure personal hygiene, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds as regularly as possible, especially after sneezing, coughing or blowing your nose.

“Stay away from others if experiencing the symptoms mentioned above, new continuous cough or high temperature

“Avoid social gatherings, and social spaces like pubs, theatres and restaurants.

“Look after the most vulnerable and elderly friends, family members and neighbours, ensuring non-face to face contact is maintained and support is provided in a safe and appropriate way.

“The Council will continue to provide vital frontline services. If there are any changes to services we will let you know.

“Hardship funding and discretionary housing payments will continue as normal, and if you are finding it difficult to pay your council tax we can agree a payment plan. For more information please visit the Benefits page on our website.

“In line with government advice, local schools will stay open. This may change and parents will be updated directly by schools. Please keep an eye on your children’s school website for information.

“It is important that any economic hardship suffered by local people and businesses is mitigated as much as possible and so I have written to the Government calling for mortgage relief, rent breaks and business rate relief measures to be implemented.

“Locally there has been an increase in people bulk buying in shops, this is unnecessary and can prevent others from having access to things they really need. Please do think before you shop. make sure to only buy what you and your family need and leave enough for others.

“It has also been reported to me that some smaller local shops have begun price hiking essential items. This is totally unacceptable. If you notice any businesses profiteering, please report them here

“For more information on COVID-19 please do go to the following websites:

“NHS Website:

“Redbridge Council Website:

“We will share other relevant information with you over the coming days and weeks, and in the meantime, please take care and look out for your neighbours. If you would like to receive news by email, please sign-up at:

“I know that together we will overcome the challenge of COVID-19 by supporting one another, listening to government advice and coming together as a community.”

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