Unmesh Desai: Important we look out for our vulnerable neighbours


Unmesh Desai AM pens his regular column for City Matters.

These difficult times remind us of the importance of community, compassion and solidarity.

The Government have issued clear rules: if you develop a cough or temperature, however mild, self-isolate for seven days after your symptoms appear. Others in the house should stay inside for 14 days after the first person’s symptoms appear.

news londonFor everyone else, only leave home to exercise once a day or to pick up essentials about once a week. When you do leave home, stay two metres away from other people. Keep washing your hands with soap regularly for at least twenty seconds.

These are instructions, not requests. The police now have powers to enforce these rules, so please do take care.

It’s important we look out for our vulnerable neighbours and, if we are able to, offer them out support. I have been inspired by the number of local initiatives and mutual aid groups that have been set up in recent weeks.

For those self-isolating or unable to volunteer, please consider making a financial donation, where possible, to organisations like food banks and domestic abuse charities who are under huge pressures to help those in need.

I am in contact with City Police to discuss how they will be adapting their approach to help contain the outbreak and working across the City to keep us safe. The unwavering dedication of our officers should come as a reassurance to all Londoners during these difficult times.

I also commend the City of London Corporation, who have, amongst other measures, deferred rent payments at this time. It’s fantastic to see everyone acting to help others.

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I have also been liaising with local representatives to look at ways to clamp down on the stockpiling of food and essential items, and the shameful profiteering that we have been seeing on the back of it.

A number of local people remain stranded abroad, unable to get back to the UK. I have made urgent representations to the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, asking that arrangements are made, quickly, to bring them home.

Finally, I would like to say a huge thank you to NHS staff and all essential workers selflessly putting themselves at risk to lead the frontline effort against this pandemic.

You are all amazing and my priority is to help you as best I can. Last week, I wrote to St Bart’s Trust calling for NHS staff to be given free hospital parking.

After many calls of this kind, the Government has now made hospital parking free. The outpouring of love for frontline staff was seen with the many, many people who joined in the national applause last week and the hundreds of thousands who have volunteered to help the NHS. I will be there, with you, doing my bit.

If you have concerns about any issues, please get in touch with me at [email protected].

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