From Gareth Thomas MP <[email protected]>
Subject My COVID-19 Update
Date January 21, 2021 9:00 AM
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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,

Over the past week, Harrow has seen 1842 cases of coronavirus. The
below table shows Harrow’s current ranking among London boroughs.
The current case rate locally stands at 733.4 cases per population
of 100,000. There is evidence that the lockdown has been working but
given the serious rise in the number of COVID cases in Harrow and
across London over the past month, I continue to be worried about the
NHS locally. 

Last Friday, many will have seen the truly astonishing Newsnight
segment from our hospital, Northwick Park. Once again, Northwick Park
is at the centre of this epidemic – THE SEGMENT CAN BE WATCHED
HERE. [[link removed]] The hospital’s Infectious
Disease Lead says roughly 75% of the hospital is now taken up with
Covid patients. He says people have died (and are dying) because
"we've lost control of this disease." Saying further, if numbers rise
further: "We will run out of beds. We will not be able to cope." Our
NHS staff are doing an incredible job in unprecedented circumstances
but this is not sustainable; with 1000 in 100,000 people with Covid in
Harrow - we must continue to play our part in order to stop the spread
and prevent our NHS from being overwhelmed further. Everything you are
doing is making a difference and is supporting the NHS to save lives.

Earlier this month, the Mayor declared a “major incident” in
London, as hospitals face a critical threat – indeed, while we are
seeing a decline in weekly cases, all of London’s healthcare and
response agencies remain under intense pressure. The declaration of a
major incident enables these organisations to work even more closely
to help keep London safe. The NHS would still like to inform patients
that General Practice remains open - please visit 111 online, or by
calling and please call your GP if you have any serious concerns for
your physical or mental health. 

[London covid rates]

Nationally, the U.K. recorded its highest total number of deaths for
yesterday, another 1820 lives tragically lost. With thousands of
grieving family members each day, my thoughts continue to be with the
loved ones of those who have died, and with those who have contracted
the virus. I can only begin to imagine the sense of fear and loss
families must be feeling. 

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. With the national vaccination programme, there
continues to be 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. 

[Tithe Farm Vaccine Hub]

I was delighted to pay another visit to the new vaccination  centre
at the ground of the mighty Rayners Lane FC last Friday. I must pay
tribute to this brilliant partnership of local GPs, practitioners and
volunteers for their continued efforts. Despite a great location and
many excellent hands-on volunteers and practitioners, I am
disappointed that Tithe Farm is not consistently being used to full

As a result of the direction of supplies across London, GPs insist it
could be operating 7 days a week instead of the current 5 days. I have
now raised this with the Minister for Vaccine Deployment, Nadhim
Zahawi, to ensure a greater vaccine supply is delivered to this Hub
and ensure it can operate at full capacity. So far, Harrow has seen a
good delivery of vaccinations over other London boroughs, and this
week, with the launch of two big sites in Byron Hall and Wembley Park,
I am optimistic that we will see good progress on the high-priority
groups. I will continue to be in contact with our local NHS and watch
this closely. If you are able to offer any time to volunteer as a PCN
at Tithe Farm, please get in contact with
HOS[email protected] for an application form. A huge thank
you to everyone contributing their time to get vaccines rolled out.

If you're in the first priority groups for a vaccine (and haven't yet
been vaccinated), you should soon receive a letter inviting you to
book a vaccination appointment through the national booking
system: [link removed]
[[link removed]]

The letter invites you to log onto the national booking system or call
a national number to book your appointment at a centre within 45
minutes of your home address. The letter will include a unique booking
code and individual NHS ID number to support the booking – you must
have these to book your appointment. Please note: You will not be able
to book an appointment until you receive your invite letter, which
will be sent when it’s your turn for a vaccination. If you have
already booked an appointment with your GP, please ignore the letter.
information: [link removed]
[[link removed]]

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.


[Vaccine Fraud]

Fraudsters have attempted to cash in on misfortune many times during
the pandemic. In the latest scam there have been reports of people
(often vulnerable) being contacted with a request for payment or card
details in order to secure a vaccination or to receive a Covid-relief
pay-out. A reminder that GOV and HMRC never send notifications of a
tax rebate or ask you to disclose personal or payment information by
text message. The phishing websites that retrieve data from vulnerable
people are looking more and more professional, please be on the alert
and share in your circles.

You can report any suspicious calls, texts, or e-mails you receive
from HMRC
here: [link removed]
[[link removed]]

Please feel free to get in contact with my office if you are concerned
about the veracity of any messages you receive.


The 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 4994,
901 2698


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


From last week, anyone that is experiencing domestic abuse can now go
into a Boots or an independent chemist and seek help. If they say
the codeword ‘ANI’ (pronounced Annie), they’ll be taken to a
private room and asked if they want to call 999 or a domestic abuse
helpline. ANI stands for Action Needed Immediately.




There is no doubt the ongoing coronavirus situation has brought great
disruption to children's education. With the majority of children now
schooling from home, myself and colleagues in the Labour Party are
pushing for urgent action to be taken by Govt Ministers to address the
digital divide:

Labour is calling on the Government to urgently deliver:

👩🏾‍💻Devices to every child that needs one

👨🏼‍💻Internet access for every child who needs it

👨🏾‍💻The removal of data charges for educational websites

👨‍💻Technical support for schools

👨🏾‍💻Guaranteed contact time with teachers

I continue to be contacted by many parents impacted by the digital
divide and I am pushing for the Government to roll out its continued
supply of laptops and tablets to children across the country. At this
time, schools are also working to distribute laptops and tablets from
a number of sources. 

The Department for Education is working with mobile phone providers
including EE, Three, Tesco Mobile, Smarty, Sky Mobile, Virgin Mobile
and Vodafone are providing free extra data for disadvantaged families
to help with home learning. This will allow pupils to use this data
as a hotspot from their phone to devices such as laptops or tablets to
enable them to continue their education if they do not have access to
reliable Wi-Fi.

Schools will be able to identify those children in need of free data
and request mobile data increases if they meet the following

• No fixed broadband at home

• Unable to afford additional data for their devices

• Experiencing disruption to their face-to-face education

More information here:
[link removed]
[[link removed]]


Due to COVID - FirmFoundation have suspended drop-in facilities. If
you are homeless and rough sleeping, you can call Streetlink on 0300
5000 914. Ring Harrow Council on 020 8424 1093 – you can also
contact FirmFoundation through the Contact Us page on their website or
call the office on 02084265515.


The Fresh Horizons CND charity based in Wembley has supported
accommodation available for the single homeless in Harrow during the
ongoing coronavirus restrictions. If you or someone you know is in
need of supported accommodation, Fresh Horizons can be contacted by
telephone at 0300 321 4702 or via email at [email protected]


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.


[HC Covid-19]

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



you are having coronavirus symptoms: fever and/or new and continuous
cough and/or loss of or change to sense of taste or smell

you are an ‘essential worker’ who is not having symptoms

you have been asked by NHS Test & Trace or Harrow Council to have a

Book a free test online [[link removed]] 

[Feel Fine? Get Tested.]



1 in 3 people with Covid do not display any symptoms & mobile units
across Harrow have already identified hundreds of people who did not
know they were Covid positive  

Book a free rapid test at St Ann’s Shopping Centre, Cambridge Rd Car
Park, Harrow Arts Centre, Harrow Civic Centre, or Shree Swaminarayan
Temple Stanmore, open 7 days a week. 

Book a test: [link removed]
[[link removed]]

[Get a test]


[Rooks Heath]

Last Monday, 11th January, instead of the large gathering in a school
hall, I joined Rooks Heath College to play host to our first Virtual
Careers Fair – one that pupils from across Harrow were able to tune
in to as many Harrow locals stepped up to discuss their career paths.
The event featured keynote speeches from the Mayor of London, Sadiq
Khan, local entrepreneur Alex Mitchell, as well as Headteacher Miriam
Manderson. Rooks Heath school will continue hosting the Virtual Fair
on its website for the remainder of the month, so please make use of
this incredibly useful resource
- [link removed]
[[link removed]]

The Careers Fair is the only event in Harrow’s calendar where local
state schools have the opportunity to engage with a number of
companies, from Heathrow Airport to Headstone Manor Museum, to Thames
Water, Thompson’s Solicitors, and many more. This year,
soft skills, college and work experience support played a role
alongside the CV and Cover letter workshop virtually delivered by
Google. In order to help students to examine the careers of the
future, Rooks Heath also explored future trends in the job market
across a number of sectors. 




Harrow Foodbank continues to highlight the impact of in-work poverty
and the number of ways that people find themselves at a crisis point.
Donations are accepted in collection bins after checkout 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.



(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 has served over 10,000 people
across Harrow and London. 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]].


[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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