‘We need each other now more than ever’: Community spirit prevails as Hackney’s confirmed coronavirus cases rise to 22

A health worker puts on an protective outfit during the coronavirus outbreak. (Zoltan Balogh/MTI via

A health worker puts on an protective outfit during the coronavirus outbreak. (Zoltan Balogh/MTI via AP) - Credit: AP

Hackney’s community spirit of “solidarity, innovation and ingenuity” has prevailed this week as thousands of volunteers rallied round to provide support for the vulnerable, in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

As of 9am Tuesday, 22 people in City and Hackney had been confirmed to have tested positive for the disease – however the number of cases of people who have the disease is likely much higher.

The government is only testing hospital cases, despite the World Health Organisation warning that the only way to control the disease is to “test, test, test”.

Global coronavirus cases are nearing 200,000 and 71 people across the UK have died of the virus which causes a cough and fever – however some people might just be carriers, and could show no symptoms.

Even before Monday when the government recommended that people aged over 70 should stay at home to avoid catching the contagious illness, volunteers came up with initiatives to try to prevent vulnerable folks and those in isolation going hungry.

Thousands of people have signed up to the Hackney Covid-19 Mutual Aid group, and plant-based community cookery school Made in Hackney put its classes on hold to launch a £30,000 fundraiser to run a free food delivery service for vulnerable people.

Indie bookshops Pages of Hackney and Burley Fisher also launched free home deliveries.

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“It’s been inspiring to see the community spirit and response of so many residents and voluntary groups in Hackney, who are rightly concerned about how those who are self-isolating or will soon need to – especially those who are elderly, disabled or have conditions that put them at risk – will get basic supplies and the help they need,” said Hackney mayor Phil Glanville.

“Responding to this crisis will require a borough-wide effort and the can-do spirit of solidarity, innovation and ingenuity that Hackney is renowned for.”

Prime minister Boris Johnson has backtracked on the government’s “herd immunity” non-intervention strategy and called on people to work at home where possible and avoid pubs, clubs and theatres – although hasn’t yet closed schools like most other European countries.

Businesses have closed across the borough and on Tuesday chancellor Rishi Shunak announced a £330 billion fund to support those affected.

For NHS guidance on dealing with the virus, see here.

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Have you tested positive for coronavirus? Are you suffering from symptoms associated with the virus? Contact Emma at the Gazette newsdesk on Emma.Bartholomew@archant.co.uk