Catherine McGuinness: Covid battle has gone full circle


Seven months into the Covid-19 pandemic, we are sadly almost back to where we were in March.

England is facing a long and difficult winter, and these new national Covid-19 measures will be a blow to households and businesses across the Square Mile.

I urge all individuals and businesses across the capital to act responsibly by following the new restrictions in order to slow the spread of the virus, save lives and protect the NHS.

Coronavirus continues to be a challenge for all of us, but one thing that we can all do to help beat the virus is to follow three simple rules: hands, face and space.

Regular handwashing, wearing a face covering and keeping your distance from people not in your household or support bubble all remain crucially important.

Of course, another thing we can all do is get tested if we have Covid-19 symptoms, in particular a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.

Booking a test is quick and easy online or by calling 119, and five testing sites are based in the City of London and Hackney, including one at Guildhall Yard.

After your test, or if you’ve been in contact with someone who’s tested positive, you may be contacted by NHS Test and Trace or a City Corporation contact tracer and asked to self-isolate, as may members of your household or support bubble.

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We understand that this may be a challenge for some of you. If you cannot arrange for food, medication and other essential items to be delivered while you and your household self-isolate, please let the City Corporation know so that we can assist you to stay at home. You can do this by emailing [email protected], or by calling 020 7606 3030.

Please also consider getting a free flu vaccination if you are eligible for one. It won’t protect you against Covid-19, but will keep you safe against another dangerous virus this Winter, and help take pressure off the NHS.

Let me finish by saying that while public health must come first, livelihoods matter too. The virus is not going to go away quickly, and we urgently need to find a way to live with it.

Households and businesses will need additional support through these tough times so it is welcome that the furlough scheme has been extended.

In order to pay for this support, we will also need sectors such as hospitality, retail and culture to reopen safely as soon as possible.
It is also vital that we get office workers back to Covid-secure workplaces as soon as we safely can.

Employers have dedicated considerable resources to deliver Covid-secure workplaces and to restore confidence among their staff, and tell us they want to see office life for the many corporate benefits that brings.

That’s why we’ve asked the government to keep the new lockdown measures under close review based on the evidence and set out a pathway for how parts of the country, including London, can return to a semblance of normality.

We need a clear plan for our economic recovery that backs the industries that will drive future growth.

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