Today we woke up to another national lockdown following the Prime Minister’s address to the country last night.
We are now at Tier 5 – which gives an indication of the seriousness of the situation we find ourselves in within Harrow.
This is not the start to the new year that any of us wanted. Here in Harrow, our cases currently stand at 939 cases per 100,000 and this is likely to rise to 1,000 imminently. The national average is 519.
In Harrow, and indeed across the country, coronavirus cases are increasing at a such a high rate our NHS and emergency services are close to being overwhelmed.
Northwick Park Hospital is under severe pressure with an increasing number of our residents of all ages requiring mechanical ventilators to keep them alive, large numbers of people in this borough will die unless the infection rate is reduced.
This is why we are all being called on to stay at home, break the chain of infection - and ultimately save the lives of our friends, neighbours and loved ones.
The move from tier 4 to 5 (lockdown) is necessary to deal with the new, more infectious strain. Under the new rules, everyone must stay in their homes and leave only for a limited set of reasons - including going to work if you are unable to work from home, essential shopping, medical reasons and exercise once a day. Read more about the new guidelines.
I know it is tiring and will be difficult - it is especially tough on mental health and wellbeing, those who live alone and hard for those managing work with home-schooling children.
Please remember that staying at home is the best way to break the chain of infection.
It was absolutely the right decision to ensure our schools did not fully open and moved to online learning, especially as we are not yet seeing the full impact of household mixing over Christmas.
As a Harrow resident you should stay close to home unless it is for work, as mentioned previously, or medical appointments. If you need to go out to buy essentials please make sure you stay local, remain vigilant and wash your hands regularly, particularly when you come home and before or after using public transport, wear a face covering properly over your nose and mouth, and keep your distance from anyone outside your household.
Always remember your hand sanitiser and face mask when you leave home.
The next few weeks will be difficult for many. We know many people have lost loved ones and livelihoods. The council is working with the community to ensure help and support is available.
The rollout of the vaccine continues and we can look forward hope. The next few weeks will be the hardest we have faced as we all try and stop the spread of this terrible virus.
By working together, and with the community looking out for each other, we previously managed to reduce the infection rate in Harrow by following the Public Health guidance and the national restrictions – and we can do so again.
Please stay at home, stay safe and take all necessary precautions to do so.