The global Coronavirus outbreak will be one of the biggest challenges we face as a community and a country - we need to work together to get through this.
I have been in regular and ongoing contact with the Chief Executive and Chairman of Croydon University Hospital (Mayday) and the Chief Executive of Croydon Council to make sure that we have the resources locally which are needed to fight this epidemic. Croydon University Hospital has substantially increased the size of its Intensive Care facility to respond to the situation (and has not reached the new expanded capacity). The brand new expanded A&E which opened last year is helping a great deal too. The Government has already provided Croydon Council with £60m to support businesses here via the grant schemes and further financial support to deal more generally with helping vulnerable people and the Coronavirus situation. The NHS is continuing to receive all the resources it needs. A substantial, multi-billion pound package of financial support is in place nationally to help employees, self-employed, smaller businesses with business premises, retail and entertainment businesses (pubs, restaurants etc) of all sizes and charities who are being financially affected by this situation.
In Croydon, the most vulnerable people in the community are being actively contacted to see what help they need. Finally, I have written to Tony Newman, the Leader of Croydon Council, asking him to put on hold the very contentious panning applications by Brick by Brick (which is 100% owned by the Council) during the Coronavirus crisis. I feel it is inappropriate for the Council itself to bring forward contentious planning applications to video-based planning committee meetings during Coronavirus, when the public cannot attend the planning meeting in person, cannot protest at the Town Hall, cannot gather petition signatures and cannot attend public meetings. I am sad to say that my request was flatly refused.
I have been playing my part in the national response by working flat out in my areas of Ministerial responsibility in the Ministry of Justice and the Home Office. This has included keeping courts operating where safe to do so, and we have succeeded in moving a huge number of non-criminal hearings online in the last three weeks. We are also ensuring that people being arrested and charged by the Police are still being bailed or remanded into custody as appropriate (although Crown Court jury trials are not currently taking place). At the Home Office, this work has included maintaining Border Security while ensuring that freight continues to come in and out without impediment.
As you will be aware, the Government is now asking for everyone to only leave their homes when absolutely necessary.
We should only leave home to: shop for basic necessities (as infrequently as possible); for one form of exercise a day; for any medical need; to provide care or to help a vulnerable person; for work purposes, but only where you cannot work from home.
People with symptoms of Coronavirus should self-isolate completely. It’s important for anyone with a high temperature or a new, persistent cough to self-isolate for 7 days or as long as they have a high temperature. People should self-isolate for 14 days if someone in your household has symptoms. You don’t need to phone 111 or see your GP if you have mild symptoms. Only contact your GP or call 111 if your symptoms become more serious. Only call 999 in an emergency.
Full Government advice is at: