On Monday we heard the news that Hanwell and West Ealing was one of just a handful of places in the country where a case of the South African variant of COVID-19 had been detected and that there was no direct connection between this case and travel to South Africa.
In order to try and suppress any community transmission of the variant and to understand more about how the variant spreads the Council was asked by Public Health England and the government to carry out 10,000 tests of local residents in parts of W7 and W13 as quickly as possible.
Can I thank everyone involved in the operation to set up the special mobile testing unit in Dean Gardens car park and the door to door delivery and collection of tests to residents. Also, can I thank residents in the designated area for their participation and patience.
Expanded testing capacity
We did initially have less capacity at the testing centre than we were originally promised by government and so slots were quickly booked up but we have since expanded capacity and people who are wanting tests should check first thing in the morning for any empty booking slots.
In line with current national lockdown rules, people should only leave their homes to get this variant test if they already have legitimate reasons to do so. The best option is to wait for the teams delivering the home testing kits to come to your door if they have not already done so.
They will have ID so that you can know that they are from the council. The tests are free and remember not to post the tests back – wait for it to be collected. If you have any questions or concerns you can call the Ealing Together help line on 020 8825 7170.
Cases falling – but remaining high
Cases of COVID-19 generally are reducing across the borough but still remain very high especially in Southall. For the week ending 31 January the infection rate was 412/100,000 population. That puts us 2nd highest in London and 11th highest in the country.
The number of local residents in our hospitals and dying from this terrible disease remain high and for this reason I am pleading with people to follow the rules and continue to stay at home as much as possible.
I also want to put on record my thanks to faith groups for voluntarily closing their places of worship for individual prayer and collective worship and to urge them to continue to stay closed for the time being. This is undoubtedly helping to protect our NHS and save lives.
An inspirational man
I’d like to finish by paying tribute to Captain Sir Tom Moore who sadly passed away this week. We flew the Town Hall flag at half-mast in his honour and I send my deepest condolences to his family on behalf of the London borough of Ealing.
During those dark days of the first lockdown Captain Sir Tom was a beacon of hope, inspiration and light to us all. as he raised nearly £33m for NHS Charities doing the 100 laps of his garden for his 100th birthday. The nation has lost a real hero.