From Gareth Thomas MP <[email protected]>
Subject COVID-19 Update
Date January 5, 2021 2:34 PM
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I’m writing to you with my latest update on the response to the
Coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic in
Harrow. ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

[CV Update from GT]

Dear John,

The Third national lockdown comes into effect today and is expected to
last for at least seven weeks. This follows the recommendation of
the joint biosecurity centre to move the Covid-19 alert level from
4 to 5 due to the material risk of healthcare services being

For the most part, restrictions reflect recent tier 4 rules but will
be stricter than the November lockdown, with the important addition of
schools and colleges being closed to most pupils, with a switch to
remote learning. With the new Covid variant spreading fast, it’s
clear that our schools had to close, but the government now needs a
plan for school closures to ensure that pupils don’t fall behind,
that ensures working parents and staff are supported, and that schools
are reopened safely as soon as possible. 

There is a lot of clarity missing at this time, but alongside other
Labour colleagues, I will be pushing to cancel the cut to Universal
Credit, for more support for sectors in our economy being hardest hit;
to protect jobs and to stop further people being pushed into hardship,
particularly in the hospitality and self-employed sectors. The
Government must urgently provide a more substantial support package in
order to ensure businesses in Harrow and across the country more
widely can survive. 

Given the serious rise in the number of COVID cases in Harrow and
across London, I continue to be worried about the NHS locally. In the
last week, Harrow has seen 2,416 cases of COVID, up from
1,812 cases in the week before. Harrow’s latest case rate is
now 934 cases per 100,000, while nationally, the rate is 487.



• Everyone should stay at home unless they have a "reasonable

• You can leave your house to buy food, collect essential supplies,
attend medical appointments or get a coronavirus test, meet people as
part of a support bubble, exercise once a day, provide care or to
escape harm

• Overnight stays are not allowed outside of a support bubble

• People are allowed to visit people giving birth or dying

• You are still allowed to move house, but people outside your
household should not help you move

• Estate agents are permitted to work and property viewings can
still take place

• You can leave home to offer voluntary or charitable services

• These rules are being enforced by law, so you can be fined £200
if you break them, doubling to a maximum of £6,400


• You can leave your home to exercise outdoors once a day, but this
should be within your local area

• It can be done alone, with your household or support bubble or
with one person from another household

• You must be exercising when with anyone outside your household -
not meeting for a picnic

• Permitted outdoor areas for exercise include parks, beaches,
countryside, public gardens, grounds of a heritage site and

• Indoor and outdoor gyms are closed, including leisure centres,
sports courts, swimming pools and golf courses

• Elite sports such as football can continue

Support bubbles and childcare 🍼

• Adults living alone can still form support bubbles with another

• If you live with children under 14 you can form a childcare bubble
to allow one other household to provide informal childcare

• Divorced or separated parents can continue to share the care of
their children


• From 5 January all colleges, primary and secondary schools will
move to remote working until February half-term

• Vulnerable children and those whose parents are key workers can
continue going to school

• University students will not be able to return to campus, but
learning can take place remotely

• In-person tuition can continue for a small number of practical
courses such as medicine, nursing, social work and education

• Exams will "not go ahead as planned this year"

• Nurseries and childminders can remain open

WORK 👨🏻‍🔧

• You must work from home unless you are a key worker or are unable
to do your job from home

• Jobs that cannot be done remotely include medical workers,
supermarket staff, construction workers and transport staff

• You can also work inside other people's homes if you are a nanny,
tradesperson or cleaner


• Those who previously shielded should not leave home apart from for
exercise and medical appointments

• Extremely clinically vulnerable should not work if unable to do so
from home

• They should also avoid crowded spaces


• You must not travel anywhere unless you have a "reasonable excuse"

• If you need to travel you must stay local and only leave home for
essential purposes

• You can only travel abroad unless you are legally permitted to do
so, for example for work purposes

• If you are already on holiday, you should return home as soon as


• All pubs, restaurants, cafes and bars closed

• They are allowed to serve takeaway food and (non-alcoholic) drink
until 11pm  

• All food and drink (including alcohol) can continue to be provided
by delivery 

• Close contact services closed

• Indoor and outdoor entertainment venues closed

• Hotels and holiday accommodation is allowed to remain open for a
small number of guests

• You should only stay in a hotel or holiday rental if you are
travelling for work, attending a wedding or funeral or are moving


• Care home visits are allowed behind screens, in visiting pods or
behind windows

• Indoor visits are not allowed

• All visits will be suspended in the event of an outbreak


• Weddings, civil partnerships and wakes are permitted with up to
six people

• People working at the wedding are not included

• They should only take place for urgent reasons, for example if one
person is terminally ill

• Funerals are allowed with up to 30 people

• You can stay away from home if travelling for the above purposes

• Communal worship is allowed but you must not mix with people
outside your household or support bubble

While the weekly clapping has stopped, as a community, we are
immensely grateful to all of our NHS staff, social care workers and
all of our key workers that continue to keep us safe and keep our
local services going. I want to thank you for the sacrifices you may
have made in the past 9 months, I know it's been difficult for so many
in our community. With the national vaccination programme, there is
hopefully some light at the end of this long tunnel. A huge thank you
to the GPs, doctors, nurses, administrators, many volunteers and
everyone in between helping to roll this out. 

I hope readers continue to stay safe, socially distance and regularly
check in on loved ones.  Again, people are being urged to remain
vigilant for any symptoms of Covid-19 If you're feeling unwell with
any of the symptoms of Covid, a new continuous cough, high
temperature, or a loss of or change to taste or smell, it's vital that
you get tested. To book a test visit
[/] or call 119. The response to Coronavirus is
being directed by Government centrally working with Public Health
England, the Government’s advice is available here
[[link removed]]. Government
assistance specifically for businesses is available here
[[link removed]] .  

A reminder that if you need to get in touch about the issues covered
here – or anything else – please contact my office on 0207 219
4243 or e-mail me at [email protected]. Please bear
with us, as we have received five times our regular casework
correspondence in recent months.


[Cases in Harrow]

The council has a webpage covering their own response to the
coronavirus pandemic, this is regularly being updated and is
available here.  
[[link removed]]

[[link removed]] OR
CALL 119


·       SOUTH HARROW walk-through testing centre at Brigade
Close Car Park, HA2 0LQ (opposite South Harrow Police Station) - open
daily 8am to 8pm. No parking available at this site.

·       HARROW WEALD, Harrow Weald Recreation Ground, 8am-8pm

·       Mobile Testing Unit, HARROW CIVIC CENTRE - Car Park
‘A’, Milton Road, 10:30 – 15:30

·       Mobile testing site (cars only) on selected days,
10.30am to 3.30pm at NORTHWICK PARK HOSPITAL (Rear car park).



If you don't have any symptoms but want to be tested, you can book a
free Rapid Covid Test in Harrow Town
Centre: [link removed]
[[link removed] ] 
[[link removed] ]


[Rooks Heath College]

Next Monday from 3:30PM is my VIRTUAL CAREERS FAIR with Rooks Heath
College for all Harrow students. In 2019, I held my first Careers Fair
with Rooks Heath, hosting engineers from Heathrow, to representatives
from charities, radio presenters and graphic designers, as well as
workshops from Google. This year, with Rooks Heath and many incredible
people from Harrow that have stepped in – the Careers Fair will take
place online.

From 3:30PM next Monday, click on to the Rooks Heath website
([link removed]
[[link removed]]) and we will have speakers
from a number of companies and local businesses; Heathrow, Headstone
Manor Museum, Thames Water, Thompson’s Solicitors, and many more, as
well as a CV and Cover letter workshop from Google. The Google
workshop is available to all and access is given following a
registration through this
link: [link removed]
[[link removed]]

Please be sure to share with any young person in Harrow that is
beginning to think about the career they would like to pursue.


[Dr David Lloyd]

On behalf of constituents, I recently asked questions about the Covid
vaccine to Dr David Lloyd 👨‍⚕️, I shared his answers in a
number of posts across social media  – THE FULL THREAD OF VIDEOS
[[link removed]]


Dr Lloyd wants to reassure us that this vaccine is safe and it will
get us out of the terrible state we are in now. The vaccine has been
approved as by the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory
Agency) and has been through 3 phases of clinical trials with checks
at every stage in the development and manufacturing process. In the
third phase, it was given to more than 21,000 volunteers with no
serious safety concerns. As with any medicine, vaccines are highly
regulated products and Dr Lloyd wants to reassure everyone that, when
added up, thousands of “man-hours” have gone into this vaccine,
much like previous vaccines that have taken what feel like a longer
time to secure.  💉


The first vaccinations have taken place this week in Harrow, at The
Hive Stadium in Edgware, with Tithe Farm, Rayners Lane FC being the
next ground. A tremendous effort is being made by GPs, doctors,
nurses, managers, administrators and many volunteers all doing a
fantastic job. It’s going to take months and months to get the
vaccine distributed and the NHS locally and nationally will need the
support of many to make it possible. Please get involved if you
can. 💉




Harrow Foodbank continues to highlight the impact of in-work poverty
and the number of ways that people find themselves at a crisis point.
The warehouse will be fully reopened from MONDAY 11TH JANUARY, with
donations accepted in collection bins at all major supermarkets. The
Foodbank continue to emphasise the majority of its users are in work,
but many are in need of emergency food provisions. If you can, please
consider providing a monetary donation to the food bank, they have
acquired a van and plan to make deliveries to vulnerable residents
across the borough in 2021 - send an email to
[email protected] or visit
[/ ]  [/ ]for more.



London's Community Kitchen (based at The Bridge, next to Harrow
Leisure Centre) run a Free Surplus Food Market open to everyone every
Friday from 3-5PM. At the height of the pandemic, this operation
served over 10,000 people across Harrow and London and they are
continuing to serve over 5,000 people per week. Please consider
donating or getting involved in any way that you can with this
incredible Harrow-wide response to the coronavirus
pandemic: [link removed]
[[link removed]]

If you’re ever in need of their support, the Community Kitchen want
to help - they won’t ask you for any details, or anything in return,
just turn up and they will provide you with food.


The Community Kitchen would love any support to keep their operation
running as effectively as possible. Please get in touch with Vivette
Morrow: [email protected]  and once you have had a
Covid test, she will help set you up as a volunteer!



Harrow born Veer Gudhka, aged 4, has been searching for a matching
stem cell donor for over a year now. It is often very difficult for
people of Asian origin to find their match. Veer's parents have been
appealing to people of all backgrounds, but especially Asians, to step
forward and join the global stem cell register. All it takes to do so
is a simple cheek swab test in your own home! If you are found to be a
match, donation itself is usually as simple as giving blood. So, we
urge you to register today to help Veer and countless others who are
in desperate need of a match and to potentially give them a second
lease of life.

Order your free swab kit today: [link removed]
[[link removed]]

The HelpVeerNow campaign has managed to inspire over 9000 people to
register and one of these 9000 people in India has actually gone on to
donate his stem cells and save someone else’s life! This is why
every registration really does count, so please keep encouraging
others to register as stem cell donors too

You can download an interactive PDF for sharing across your WhatsApp
and Email networks. Please download today and get
sharing: [link removed]
[[link removed]]

Follow @HELPVEERNOW across Facebook
[[link removed]] and Instagram
[[link removed]].


The New Year and renewed lockdown measures will have created anxiety
and stress for many. Don't be afraid to reach out for help if you are
worried about your mental health: SAMARITANS: 116 123, CALM: 0800
58 58 58, YOUNG MINDS:0800 018 2138, THE MIX (UNDER 25S): 0808 808


The council continues to operate a hotline telephone number during
weekends in order to provide support to those in need of assistance in
Harrow - if you are in need of support due to Covid please give the
hotline a call - 0208 901 2698


Harrow Council, Harrow CCG, and Young Harrow Foundation have put
together a joint document
[[link removed]] signposting
residents to a collection of some of the most helpful and trusted
sources of information and guidance for children and young people’s

For young people (high school and college age), the
document ‘looking after ourselves’ can be found here
[[link removed]] – covering
how to stay healthy, stay connected and learn new skills during this


Harrow Council have collected a range of online resources
[[link removed]]
 for all members of the family to keep entertained while libraries
are closed. You will be able to find resource to help with homework,
eBooks, newspapers and magazines and keeping yourself healthy and

Counselling services and mental health support

•       5 Steps to Mental Wellbeing
[[link removed]]
  - A fantastic primer on stress, anxiety and depression from the
NHS. Evidence suggests there are 5 steps you can take to improve your
mental health and wellbeing. Trying these things could help you feel
more positive and able to get the most out of life.

·       Relate Family Mediation 
[[link removed]] - a
service fully geared up to supporting families through the crisis.
Tel: 0300 0032324 or email [email protected].

·       DAWN [[link removed]]  - provide
a counselling service to the local community of Harrow and its
neighbouring boroughs. Tel: 020 8427 6796 or
email: [email protected]

·       Need To Talk [[link removed]]  - offering
1 to 1 counselling supporting their clients or any client by telephone
or webcam. Tel: call/ text on 07427548559 or
email [email protected]

·       Ignite Trust 
[[link removed]]  - During these challenging
and uncertain times, Ignite Trust is working hard to ensure they
continue to provide support to the boroughs most vulnerable and
at-risk young people. Email [email protected].

·        [[link removed]] Every
Mind Matters [[link removed]] - Expert
advice and practical tips to help you look after your mental health
and wellbeing.


NHS England and NHS Improvement recently launched the Access phase of
the ‘Help Us, Help You’ campaign. The campaign encourages the
public to contact their GP if they are worried about a symptom that
could be cancer, encourage pregnant women to keep appointments and
seek advice if they are worried about their baby, encourage those
already who are already being treated for a health issue to keep their
routine appointments and those experience mental health issues to
access NHS services and support.. The NHS has introduced a range of
measures to ensure the safety of patients, including COVIDsecure
wards, and the ‘Help Us, Help You’ campaign will help to reassure
patients that they can receive medical care safely. Your NHS is here
to see you, safely. Help Us, Help You. 

For cancer: Visit NHS.UK/CANCERSYMPTOMS [/]
 for more information 

For using the NHS during coronavirus: Visit NHS.UK/YOURHEALTHMATTERS
[/] for more information 

For pregnancy advice: Visit NHS.UK/PREGNANCY-AND-CORONAVIRUS
[/] for more information 

For mental health and talking therapies If you are struggling with
anxiety or depression, please do come forward: it’s easy to get
help. Ask your GP for a referral to NHS talking therapies, or you can
self-refer via   [/]NHS.UK/TALK [/]


[GT Zoom Surgeries]

I appreciate that whilst this outbreak of Covid-19 is currently
dominating a lot of our thoughts, other concerns and problems do not
disappear. However, to help reduce the spread of infection, I am
asking members of the public who need to contact my office to do so by
phone or email rather than in person and further, I will continue to
hold surgery appointments exclusively by telephone and Zoom video
conferencing. This is a temporary measure and a sensible precaution to
protect vulnerable people.  Please be assured we continue to offer a
full service of advice and support to members of the public who need

My office can be contacted on [email protected] or by
telephone on 0207 219 4243 (Monday-Friday). Please bear with us, as we
have received five times our regular casework correspondence in recent



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of Gareth Thomas, both at 132-134 Blenheim Road, Harrow, HA2 7AA
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