Havering, along with the rest of London, is currently ranked as a medium risk area of the country according to the Government’s new COVID-19 three tier alert system announced on Monday.
However, the surveillance data for London shows continuous increases across a wide range of COVID-19 indicators including incidence rates, patients in intensive care, GP attendance and calls to NHS 111.
There is therefore a real possibility that we could move from the medium risk/Tier 1 level to the high risk/Tier 2. As we try together to stay one step ahead of this awful virus that continues to threaten lives and livelihoods, it’s a responsible thing for us all to look at not just the restrictions that apply to us now, but those that we’d all need to put in to place if cases continue to increase, as they look like doing.
On the plus side the medical profession have developed treatments that now mean survival rates for those getting ill with this coronavirus are much better than they were back in March. Nevertheless we must do everything in our power to prevent the capacity of our local NHS hospitals to treat those with COVID-19 from being overwhelmed.
That means not getting complacent about following the basics: washing our hands, covering our nose and mouth when close to people not living with us, and maintaining social distance.
Of course, the possibility of more restrictions adds to the anxiety and lack of certainty for our borough’s young people. This generation are experiencing things many of us never had to think about: disrupted education and being ripped away from friendships and social interactions for long periods of time.
I know it has been very tough for many parents and pupils. If your child has experienced problems with anxiety or emotional wellbeing please take a look at the article below and consider joining one of the online workshops that are free to attend.
If we turn a blind eye to child mental health issues that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated, the risk is that we will see more young people at a delicate stage of their development suffering, with the danger that this could lead to self harm, or even suicidal thoughts.
As school half-term draws near, I want to put on record my thanks as the Cabinet Member for Education, to the amazing efforts of our parents, pupils, teachers and support staff for keeping our schools and colleges open over the last five or six weeks, and for doing everything possible to minimise the risk of spreading COVID-19. Please continue to keep up your guard so that all your hard work isn’t undone during the holidays.