Covid: rules, vaccines in BAME community and cancer support

Nursery Road police Hackney

Police attending the suspected rave in Nursery Road. - Credit: Met Police

Selfish illegal gatherings

Jennette Arnold OBE, London Assembly member for North East (Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest), writes: 

Like many people, I was shocked by the news of both the unlicensed music event attended by over 300 people in Hackney and the 150-strong wedding party in Stamford Hill in the last week.

While the vast majority are doing the right thing by following the rules and staying at home, a selfish minority continue to put our community, the police and hard-pressed staff at the Homerton at risk.

It needs to stop.

Though the government must be held accountable for their handling of the pandemic, we cannot underestimate the difference we make as individuals. It’s not just our own health we put at risk – one thoughtless act can cost someone else their life.
The vaccine alone is not a panacea. If we are to beat this virus, we must first do all we can to minimise transmission and the risk of further, deadly mutations.

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Every one of us has a part to play.

Winter safety

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Hackney Mayor Philip Glanville, chair of London Councils’ transport and environment committee, writes: 

London boroughs are prepared for the winter season with 75,000 tonnes of salt available at key locations across the capital for quick and easy access to deal with the challenge of frozen roads and pavements.

In colder months, boroughs take responsibility for helping to ensure their most important routes are free of frost and ice and safe to use.

Highway teams continue to monitor high-tech weather forecasts, ready to treat the roads and pavements with salt as soon as conditions demand it. Councils will be keeping people up-to-date about forecasts, road conditions and salting activity. 

Boroughs understand how important it is to keep the roads safe. As a direct impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, car usage has unfortunately increased which means the issue of congestion and road safety affects a huge number of Londoners.

Although at present lockdown restrictions mean travel is limited to local areas, London’s boroughs are working hard to ensure it is as safe as possible for all road users, including pedestrians, to carry out their journeys.

We are also asking that Londoners be vigilant throughout the colder months to make sure their neighbours are okay.

If you notice milk bottles left outside, newspapers stuck in the letterbox or curtains drawn all day, or any other activity out of the ordinary, it could be a sign that someone in your community needs help.

Managing alcohol

Dr Richard Piper, chief executive, Alcohol Change UK (the charity behind Dry January), writes: 

Back in December we estimated that 6.5 million people would be taking part in Dry January - then on January 4, the third national lockdown was announced and almost immediately we began to see people saying that Dry January was “cancelled”.

Yet what we saw, in fact, was a further surge in people downloading the official app, Try Dry.
Downloads this year have been a huge 35 per cent higher than last. 

Research has shown that seven in 10 people who do Dry January with our support are still drinking less six months later. So whether you used Dry January to bust lockdown drinking habits, kickstart cutting down or test out going alcohol-free longer-term, February 1 isn’t the end – it’s the start of healthier, happier drinking habits year-round.

The Alcohol Change UK website offers information and advice for managing your drinking all year round.

Stop the spread

File photo dated 21/01/21 of Shoukatali Dahya, 80, receiving an injection of the Oxford/AstraZeneca

The Muslim Forum encourages everyone in the BAME community to have a Covid vaccine when invited - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Cllr Khaled Noor, Muslim Professionals Forum chair, writes:

People from the black and ethnic minority (BAME) community feature high in the coronavirus statistics: we are disproportionately more likely to become infected and to die; and we are more likely to be on the front line, risking our lives to help others.

We mourn each and every death from our diverse communities. We pray for all those whose lives have been cut short and we send our condolences to every bereaved and grieving family.

As the virus continues to take lives, we urge everyone to follow the lockdown guidelines.

Stay home; observe social distancing; wear a mask – and encourage everyone to have a vaccination when they are invited.

Cancer care

Emma Tingley, head of partnerships, Macmillan Cancer Support, London and South East, writes:

The start of 2021 is proving to be an acutely challenging time for people with cancer, the NHS and for cancer care.

Indeed, it’s clear that this is the most worrying time in recent history to get a cancer diagnosis.

At Macmillan, people are calling our support line every day to tell us about the heightened anxiety, loneliness and distress that they are feeling.

On our support line – open seven days a week, 8am – 8pm, on 0808 808 00 00 – specially trained nurses, counsellors and financial support advisors are available to help anyone affected by, or worried about, cancer.

They can provide comprehensive information and advice, as well as emotional support, to help people with cancer cope with the additional strain of the coronavirus pandemic.

We know doctors and nurses are working in unspeakably difficult conditions and are having to make tough decisions every day.
Healthcare professionals are doing everything they can to keep cancer care on track, but we also know that some treatment – operations, for example – are being cancelled or postponed because essential services such as ITU are full of seriously ill people with Covid-19.

What is absolutely vital is that if there are changes to treatment plans, these must involve the person living with cancer and be communicated clearly.

Although some changes may be needed for treatment plans, this is not the case everywhere or for all treatments or tests.

Healthcare professionals are doing everything they can to make hospitals a safe environment so it’s really important that people with cancer who have been invited for tests or treatment do attend.

GPs are open if you are worried about possible cancer symptoms and screening and other vital tests have resumed in a Covid-safe way. 

As well as our support line, comprehensive cancer information and support, including our latest guidance on the impact of coronavirus on cancer care, is also available on and our online community is there to provide emotional and peer support.

We are doing whatever it takes to make sure our vital support continues to be available. 

We urge the public to do their bit to reduce the spread of coronavirus, which will relieve pressure on the NHS.

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