IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Coronavirus in Islington: Updates on covid-19

Latest updates on coronavirus outbreak

17 March, 2020 — By Calum Fraser and Sam Ferguson

*  BORIS JOHNSON ANNOUNCES UK-WIDE LOCKDOWN
*  CORONAVIRUS HELPLINE LAUNCHED
*  ISLINGTON SCHOOLS CLOSE
*  ISLINGTON FOODBANK CLOSED FROM MONDAY
*  NHS STAFF QUESTION LACK OF VIRUS TESTING
*  ISLINGTON BUSINESSES FEAR GOVERNMENT HELP WILL BE TOO LATE
*  HOMELESS GROUPS FORM CORONAVIRUS TASKFORCE TO HELP ROUGH SLEEPERS
*  BORIS JOHNSON’S LEADERSHIP ‘ALARMING WORKERS’

OUR PLEDGE: The Islington Tribune will report on the Covid-19 coronavirus to provide, as readers demand, as much local information as possible. We pledge to do this in a responsible method, without lurid, ‘clickbait’ headlines. We will signpost to sources of information where appropriate. We will be including the current medical advice on how to approach the Covid-19 pandemic. You can contact us at 0207 419 9000 or editorial@islingtontribune.co.uk

Current government advice:

The Prime Minister announced on Monday evening stricter measures to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The Government said they would with immediate effect:

  • Close all shops selling non-essential goods
  • Stop all gatherings of more than two people in public
  • Stop all social events including weddings, but excluding funerals.

You are now only permitted to leave your home to:

  • shop for necessities as infrequently as possible
  • exercise once a day
  • If you have a medical need
  • travel to work, if you work in a critical industry like the NHS

Scroll down for more updates:


FORMER ST ALOYSIUS SECONDARY SCHOOL PUPIL, 28, DIES OF CORONAVIRUS

THE devastated mother of one of the country’s youngest victims of coronavirus has warned: ‘This is not just an old person’s disease.”

Jackie Harkins urged the younger generation to stop treating government advice with contempt after her son Adam Harkins Sullivan, 28, died in University College Hospital this week.

Read more on the Camden New Journal.


UK DEATH TOLL RISES BY MORE THAN ONE HUNDRED IN A SINGLE DAY

THE number of people in the UK who have died of coronavirus has risen by more than 100 in a single day for the first time.

The death toll has risen today (Thursday, March 26)from 475 to 578.

A total of 104,866 people have been tested, of whom 11,568 were positive.


ST LUKE’S COMMUNITY CENTRE CLOSES TO THE PUBLIC

THE NHS and the council have requested to use St Luke’s Community Centre as a distribution point during the coronavirus crisis, after the centre shut its doors to the public last week.

The centre, on Central Street, closed on Friday last week, but will carry on operating with a limited staff to deliver daily meals to elderly and vulnerable people.

Staff will also continue to telephone vulnerable people who are living alone and plan to offer supplies of goods donated to those most in need.


PRINCE CHARLES DIAGNOSED WITH CORONAVIRUS

PRINCE Charles has been diagnosed with coronavirus.

According to reports, the Prince of Wales, 71, is displaying mild symptoms “but otherwise remains in good health”.

The Duchess of Cornwall, 72, has been tested but does not have the virus.


NUMBER OF PEOPLE DIAGNOSED WITH VIRUS RISES IN ISLINGTON

THE number of people who have been diagnosed with the coronavirus in Islington has reached 66 as of 9am Wednesday (March 25), though the number is likely to be higher.

Read more here.


COUNCIL ‘COULD START PRIORITISING SERVICES’

THE Town Hall leader has warned the council will have to start prioritising services as the coronavirus crisis escalates.

In a video address to residents, Islington’s Labour Leader Richard Watts said: “It’s really important that people understand just how difficult a situation London and the rest of the country is in.

“The council is now going to have to stop providing some services that people have got used to receiving in order to concentrate on what is really essential at this time.”

Full story here.


SHOP WORKERS FACE MASK BAN

M&S staff say they have been told to remove protective masks because they might “panic” customers.

One shop floor worker , who did not want to be named, said employees felt “scared” and had protested about the policy.

Hand sanitiser is available to staff in the store and workers are allowed to wear gloves. But masks have been banned by head office pending government advice, the source said.

Read the full story here.


HOW TO DONATE TO NHS HOSPITAL STAFF

1.35pm

Managers at the Whittington say they have been touched by “offers of gifts, treats, items and services for the benefit of our staff” from businesses and individuals.

Last week, 20 pizzas were delivered to the hospital for emergency workers.

A webpage has been set up through which donations of this kind can be organised.

Read the full story, here.

_________________________________________________________________________

1pm

ARSENAL DONATE £150,000 TO CORONAVIRUS-FIGHTING COMMUNITY GROUPS

Arsenal has pledged over £150,o00 to community groups working to tackle Covid-19.

In a statement released today (Tuesday), the club said: “Arsenal Football Club has never shied away from responding to the needs of its community. In these uncertain times we are taking a series of steps to ensure our local and global communities receive our full support.”

Part of their response comes in the form of cash donations, £100,000 of which is being donated to local charities and organisations that are supporting those most in need during this COVID-19 crisis.

“We are in constant dialogue with Islington Council and our partners in the NHS to ensure this response is aligned with their priorities and supports those most vulnerable,” the statement read.

Another £50,000 has already been donated to local community initiatives by The Arsenal Foundation, the club said.

The money, gifted in partnership with Islington Giving, will also be re-directed to Islington Giving’s Crisis Fund as part of this COVID-19 community response.

Arsenal in the Community cars are also being made available to transport frontline NHS mental health workers. Driven on a voluntary basis by Arsenal in the Community staff, this service will support NHS workers in delivering vital medication and emergency supplies.

They are also discussing ways of supporting local schools and pupil referral and producing online education programmes for children combining football and learning.

_________________________________________________________________________

12.40pm

WOMEN’S AID STILL SUPPORTING WOMEN IN NEED

Women’s Aid says it is still running all of its services during the coronavirus lockdown and helping women in need.

If you need help and support, you can access Women’s Aid direct services which include their Live Chat, the Survivors’ Forum and the Survivor’s Handbook at www.womensaid.org.uk

You can also email them at helpline@womensaid.org.uk or contact a local domestic abuse service by using the Domestic Abuse Directory https://www.womensaid.org.uk/domestic-abuse-directory/

All services which are still operating can be found on: https://www.womensaid.org.uk/information-support/

GIG ECONOMY WORK CASE COULD END UP IN COURT

The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB), which represents gig economy workers, has announced that it is suing the government over its failure to protect the wages and jobs of millions of workers during the pandemic, as well as its failure to ensure the health and safety of those still employed through proper sick pay.

IWGB General Secretary Dr Jason Moyer-Lee said: “No one wants to be litigating right now. We all have extremely pressing things to be getting on with, but we also can’t stand by and watch our members being driven into financial destitution because the government has simply forgotten about them.

“The low paid precarious workers must have the means to follow public health advice and continue to pay their bills and put food on the table. Right now, they don’t.”


MARKET TRADERS’ FEARS FOR FUTURE

SELF-EMPLOYED market traders are facing up to months without work in the borough as the city locks down amid the coronavirus crisis.

Some traders are furious at being “left behind” by the government’s financial aid package.

Read the full story here.

____________________________________________________________

ARSENAL TO STAND BY CASUAL WORKERS

ALL casual workers employed by Arsenal will be paid up to the end of April, the club has announced.

A statement from the Gunners says the gesture reflects the club’s gratitude to them and a “desire to ease financial concerns during this challenging period.”

Read more here.


 

BORIS JOHNSON ANNOUNCES LOCKDOWN MEASURES FOR UK

In a pre-recorded statement played to the nation at 8.30pm on Monday, March 23, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced he was taking the dramatic step to put the UK on lockdown.

The stringent new measures will see the closure of shops selling “non-essential” goods, prevent all gatherings of more than two people in public and stop all social events including weddings, but excluding funerals.

People will only be allowed to leave their homes to go shopping infrequently for essential items such as food and medicine, to exercise once a day, for a medical need or to travel to work if you are a critical key worker.

Read our full story here.


 

FINES SUSPENDED AS COUNCIL SHUTS DOWN LIBRARIES 

ALL libraries in Islington are closed until further notice, and all library fines have been suspended for the foreseeable future, the council has confirmed.

A telephone enquiry service will run between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Islington Museum is also closed.

A council spokesman said: “Please do not worry if you have items that need to be returned or renewed.

“We have suspended all library fines for the foreseeable future.

“A range of free library resources will continue to be available online – including e-books, e-audio, e-newspapers and e-magazines. You can also browse our previous museum exhibitions online.

_____________________________________________________________

 

HORNSEY STREET RECYCLING CENTRE TO CLOSE

HORNSEY Street Reuse and Recycling Centre will close tomorrow night (Tuesday) until further notice, the Town Hall has announced.

The centre, which is run by the North London Waste Authority, will shut from 8pm tomorrow.

A council spokesman said: “We are working with the North London Waste Authority (NLWA), who manage this facility, to monitor the developing situation and will take the appropriate action to ensure that together we continue to provide an effective waste collection and disposal service to residents, and to ensure the safety of staff.”


 

ISLINGTON PARKS ‘COULD CLOSE’

THE council has confirmed they are willing to close down the borough’s parks if people ignore social distancing advice during the coronavirus crisis.

Town Hall leader Labour councillor Richard Watts took to Twitter today (Monday) to ask people to be responsible in their use of Islington’s open spaces.

Read the full story here.

_________________________________________________________________________

 

CONTACT THE ISLINGTON TRIBUNE 

Dear readers:
 
The coronavirus outbreak means many of our reporters are working from home however, we continue to report on the issues that matter and do what we can to help the borough tackle Covid-19.
 
If you would like to get in touch with us then email sferguson@islingtontribune.com.

______________________________________________________________________

 

WHITTINGTON HOSPITAL LAUNCHES ‘RELIEF FUND’

THE Whittington has launched a “Coronavirus Relief Fund” and is appealing for financial donations to help the Highgate hospital continue “to provide the best possible care”.

A JustGiving webpage, which has raised £2,630 since Friday, said donations would go towards “supporting staff and patients during the coronavirus crisis” and to help ensure the “best possible care to our community”.

Read the full story here.

_________________________________________________________________________

 

WHITTINGTON HOSPITAL NHS STAFF BOOKED HOTEL ROOMS

THE Whittington Hospital has begun booking hotel rooms for frontline NHS workers who have been told to self-isolate under Government advice.

The rooms are for staff who have been told to stay indoors for a fortnight because they are living with people diagnosed with coronavirus. 

It is part of a range of measures aimed at maintaining levels of “valuable staff well enough to work” in the hospital outlined in a memo from managers to “key stakeholders” on Friday.

Read the full story here.

_________________________________________________________________________

 

CORONAVIRUS HELPLINE LAUNCHED IN BID TO ‘SAVE LIVES’

Islington Council and mutual aid groups have joined forces in a bid to tackle coronavirus in the borough.

As well as launching a helpline they have called on residents to volunteer, donate and follow public health advice to help “save lives”.

Cllr Richard Watts said: “We’re at the start of our biggest national crisis since the Second World War. To get through it we’re really going to have to pull together.”

Read the full story here.

________________________________________________________________________

 

NUMBER OF CORONAVIRUS CASES IN ISLINGTON REACHES 54

Public Health England released the latest figures on Sunday revealing the number of Covid-19 patients in Islington had increased by 19 to 54.

It comes as the UK’s death toll hits 281 on Monday and an 18-year-old becomes the youngest person in the nation to die after contracting the illness.

Read the full story here.


ISLINGTON BOXING CLUB CLOSES

The iconic boxing club in Upper Holloway has closed due to the coronavirus outbreak. 

A statement from the club said:

“Dear Members and Users of Islington Boxing Club,

In light of the recent events surrounding Covid 19 (Coronavirus) and the problems and uncertainty we are all facing, the Club have taken the decision to completely close its doors with immediate effect (Thursday 19th March 2020) for a period of four weeks at which time the situation will then be reviewed. We will keep you all updated as to developments as and when they occur, and we hope you and your loved ones all stay safe and well during this time.

This decision has not been taken lightly, we have tried our utmost to keep our doors open for as long as possible, realising there would be an inevitable closure at some point. We are acutely aware that the Club is a lifeline to some 0and the closure will have an adverse effect on their daily lives, but we have had to take into consideration the wellbeing of all our members/users and also the health of the local community, hence the complete closure of the Club and its facilities. No one knows what we are facing in the next few weeks, let alone us.  

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your continued support and hope to reopen as soon as possible, when we are confident it is safe to do so and in line with Government guidelines.

Whilst we are closed, we are undertaking a thorough deep clean of the building and all of our equipment ready for when we reopen.”


UNION SAYS PM’S DECISION TO CLOSE SCHOOLS IS ‘FAR TOO LATE’ AND HAS EXPOSED TEACHERS TO THE VIRUS

All schools in Islington will shut this afternoon (Friday) with GCSEs and A-levels postponed, but the National Education Union (NEU) says the government’s actions are “far too late”.

Children of ‘key workers will be allowed back to school so their parents can continue working.

This morning (Friday), a list detailing who is considered a ‘key worker’ was released by the government.

Read the full story here.


BORIS JOHNSON’S WEAK LEADERSHIP IS ‘ALARMING WORKERS’

Two of the borough’s biggest trade unions have levelled stinging criticisms against the government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis.

Unison and GMB, whose members include council staff, ambulance drivers, care workers and many other public service workers, say advice coming out of Downing Street is endangering them.

Full story here.


BOROUGH BUSINESSES SAY GOVERNMENT HELP COULD COME TOO LATE TO SAVE JOBS

Traders warn £350billion support package won’t come quickly enough for them to survive coronavirus crisis.

Included in the pledge was a business rates holiday, and grants of between £10,000 and £25,000 for small businesses.

But with details on how to access the money scarce, and time running out for many in Islington, traders are not convinced the help is going to arrive in time and are predicting businesses and jobs are certain to go across the borough.

Read what Islington businesses are saying here.


NHS STAFF QUESTION LACK OF VIRUS TESTING

A private Harley Street clinic is selling coronavirus tests for £375 – but frontline medics and patients are being denied checks

Questions are now being asked about why the testing kits and protective equipment have not been made easily available to the public.

While footballers and Hollywood actors have been posting that they have tested positive for the virus on social media, others are having to make do with guesswork and guidance to stay in doors for 14 days.

Full story here.

 


TWELVE PINS PUB IN FINSBURY PARK CLOSED

A statement from the pub released last night said: “As employers we have a duty of care and moral obligation to our staff. To our customers we have the exact same obligation. Unfortunately in present times we cannot guarantee either.

“Due to the guidelines on social distancing set out by the government today; The Twelve Pins will close at 8pm tonight and will reopen again when it is safe to do so.

“Sincere thanks and appreciation to our staff who have always gone above and beyond the call of duty; and especially in the last 8-10 days.

“We are deeply indebted to you our customers, and sincerely appreciate your loyalty throughout the years. We fully intend to get through this difficult time and get back to normality as soon as possible.

“We take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy St Patrick’s Day.

“Stay safe, protect yourself, your families and your loved ones.”


FREE ONLINE COURSE TO COMBAT CORONAVIRUS FAKE NEWS

To combat “false information” circulating about the coronavirus one of the world’s leading medical and hygiene research universities is offering a free online education course.

St Peter’s ward councillor Cllr Alice Perry works in the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in Camden where they are offering a free online course for members of the public to understand the current known facts about the Coronavirus.

Cllr Perry told the Tribune: “The course is for frontline workers but it is really accessible and we are inviting anyone who wants to know more about the virus to join in.

“It might even be fun and it could be reassuring for those who are in self-isolation.”

She added: “There is a lot of false information going around at the moment.”

The course starts on Monday and it will be lead by a team of experts at the Bloomsbury-based university.

To access the course go to www.lshtm.ac.uk/study/courses/short-courses/free-online-courses/coronavirus


VOLUNTEER GROUPS

HUNDREDS of Islington residents have volunteered themselves to help the elderly and the vulnerable as the number of confirmed Coronavirus cases in the borough has risen to eleven.

“Mutual Aid” groups, linked through social media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter, have been set up in every ward in the borough.

The government indicated plans this week to ask citizens to enact “social distancing” practices and for people over the age of 70 or with underlying health conditions to self-isolate.

Concerned neighbours are offering up their time through the Mutual Aid channels to deliver food and supplies to those who are self-isolating.

To access the Islington mutual aid group on Facebook, click here

To see the contact details for the ward volunteer groups, click here


NEW MEASURES AIMED AT SUPPRESSION INTRODUCED

March 16 PM: The new government advice is that whole households should completely self-isolate for days if any family member begins showing the symptoms of a new continuous cough or a fever. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also said that people should begin social distancing, avoiding going to pubs, theatres and restaurants. Non-essential travel should be avoided. The government’s health advisers have warned that people should not expect this to be solved in a fortnight and measures could be in place for months.

Schools are remaining open.


ISLINGTON FOODBANK TO CLOSE

Islington Foodbank will close next week amid coronavirus safety concerns and low food supplies, it has been announced.

An statement on the Trussell Trust foodbank’s social media said it would close to the public after Monday. March 23.

Staff at the foobank, based in the Highbury Roundhouse on Ronalds Road, say they are communicating with their clients and partners and will reopen as soon as it is safe to do so.


HOMELESS TASKFORCE MEETS

Homeless groups and charities are meeting at the Union Chapel to discuss help for rough sleepers who may be struggling with coronavirus or unable to carry out medical advice on self-isolation or hand hygiene.

Streets Kitchen founder John Glackin said: “For the last week I have been going around with other guys dispensing hand sanitiser to everyone.

“I have been going out with a thermometer taking temperatures. I’ve been seeing everyone’s hands, it’s terrible. You got places like McDonald’s, the security won’t let them go in to use the bathroom.”


LONDON ELECTIONS POSTPONED

Voters will no longer go the polls in London on May 7. Mayoral and London Assembly elections have been postponed until 2021. Sadiq Khan will continue as Mayor of London.


ARSENAL PLAYERS IN LOCKDOWN

The Premier League has been suspended until April 3 with uncertainty over whether the season will be finished in full. Arsenal had been due to play Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday but manager Mikel Arteta received a positive diagnosis for Covid-19 on Thursday and is now in self-isolation. First team players and coaches are also staying indoors.

Chelsea’s Calum Hudson-Odoi posted a social media video earlier in which he told fans that he was recovering after being infected. Tests on players with symptoms have also taken place at Leicester City, Watford and Everton.

 

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