This week, in the seven days up until the 12th July, we have had five COVID-19 cases in Ealing. That is 3.2 [new] cases per 100,000 of our population. Really low, and no chance of a local lockdown.
Leicester had 135-140 cases per 100,000 population when they went into a local lockdown.
So, we need to continue to be vigilant, however, to keep those cases really low; lots of hand washing; keep that two-metre social distancing where possible and follow the rules where you can. Obviously, there will be new rules coming up, a week Friday, about face coverings being compulsory in shops and supermarkets, in addition to it being compulsory on our public transport, so people must wear face coverings. There’s some confusion about takeaway shops but I think the message is: Put a face covering on if you need to go in any kind of shop, frankly. And be cautious, be sensible. So, if you’ve come into contact with anybody who’s positive then self-isolate for 14 days. If you’ve got any symptoms then make sure you get a test and self-isolate if you’re positive for seven days. And, we can stop the spread of the virus if we do that.
Now, we’ve just received under £1million from Transport for London and the Department for Transport and this is for active travel emergency COVID-19 initiatives here in the borough: Temporary cycle lanes; School Streets – that’s where we close off a street where the school is at drop-off and pick-up times, in order to stop poor air quality and cars blocking up the street; also we’ve got funding for what are called ‘low traffic neighbourhoods’ and that is to reduce car traffic in residential areas to make the air quality better, make it better for people to walk and cycle. Now, there’s been some news in the media, on TV about Ealing withdrawing low traffic neighbourhoods because of a backlash – this isn’t true. Basically, we’ve pulled one scheme because of some utility road works which need to take place and we can’t actually complete that low traffic neighbourhood in the time that TfL and Department for Transport have asked us to – and the funding was attached to that delivery date. All the others will go ahead because of those positive advantages of improving air quality. Stopping too much car usage is critical and we need to make sure that we are supporting people to walk and cycle as much as possible and have a green recovery from COVID-19.
Finally, the government announced Ealing’s share of the latest £500million for councils that was announced.
We got just over £3million of that £500million, so that’s good news, in that we got three more million, but the bad news is that we still have a hole in our budget because of COVID-19 of £35.5million so we need the government to step up and keep its promises and give us that funding that we desperately need to keep our vital services going.