As we head towards the Christmas holiday period, the Covid-19 situation in Croydon remains extremely serious, with a 77% increase in cases in the last week alone. The latest data shows that incidence in Croydon is 305.1 in 100,000 compared with 173.3 last week, with 101 people currently receiving treatment in Croydon University Hospital, six of whom are in intensive care. I am very sad to tell you that in the last week, seven residents have lost their lives after testing positive with Covid-19. My thoughts are with all of them and their families and I wish everyone still unwell, a safe recovery.
These extremely worrying figures are a stark reminder that sadly, Covid-19 doesn’t stop for Christmas – however much we might all wish that it would. We are still in the middle of a pandemic and the inconvenient truth is that this year, we simply cannot relax and behave as we usually would, however much we might all want to.
The priority has to be keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe and this means minimising our social contact as much as possible – keeping Christmas little, short, local and protecting our most vulnerable friends and family. Avoid Christmas shopping in busy places – you can continue to support our local businesses by shopping online, and using takeaway and delivery options – and continue to follow the Tier 3 restrictions this week.
While the restrictions are different from 23 – 27 December, I would urge us all not to think about whether we can but whether we should. Meeting others indoors carries as much risk over the holiday period as it does the week before so please this year, put safety first.
It was great to see secondary pupils from across Croydon sending a strong Covid-19 safety message this week, reminding us all of the importance of social distancing and hands, face, space – you can watch their video here. Thanks to them and to all of our schools, for everything they have done in this very challenging year to keep our children and young people in education as safely as possible.
More than 2,000 residents have now received the Covid-19 vaccine since 8 December, when Croydon University Hospital became among the first 15 hospital hubs to begin the national programme. I want to thank once again our partners in health, our local NHS, who are working tirelessly to deliver this groundbreaking piece of work while continuing to treat those who are very unwell.
As the NHS are prioritising those residents who are most at risk, most of them who have received the vaccine to date are over 80, with some care home staff as well. The NHS will contact you as soon as it is time for you to come forward, so please wait to hear from them.
And while there is a long way to go, this can provide us all with some much-needed hope that the end may be in sight. If we all do everything we can to stay safe this Christmas, we can hope for a return to normality at some point next year – with the ones that we love.
Croydon’s renewal plans
I also want to update you on our plans for Croydon’s financial recovery, which took an important step forward this week. On Tuesday we formally submitted our bid to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, setting out our plans to get Croydon back on track and deliver good value, essential services over the next three years. We await their response and I will keep you all informed.
I would also encourage all of you who haven’t yet done so, to feedback on the savings proposals we have put forward as part of our plans for Croydon’s future. We have to make some choices and change the way we do things so it is really important to me that we hear from you to understand the impact on you. Also, to hear your ideas about how we might do things differently. You can find out more and take a short survey at www.croydon.gov.uk/savingsproposals
Thank you to everyone who has got in touch to date – we are listening and will be sharing the findings ahead of our cabinet meeting in February.
Croydon athlete Paul Nihill
Finally, I was very sad to hear that one of Croydon’s former Olympic athletes, Paul Nihill MBE, passed away this week. He is best-known for taking silver in the 50km walk at the 1964 Tokyo Games, but also competed at four Olympics and won a European title during his career.
Mr Nihill, who moved to Croydon aged two in 1941, began cross-country as a boy at the Sir Phillip Game Centre in Morland Avenue before taking up race walking. Even after moving in later years to Kent, he remained a life member of Croydon Harriers athletics club and said he was a proud Croydonian. In August 2016 he joined guests including councillors and the-then Mayor of Croydon for a special ceremony at a new housing development in Addiscombe, where a street was named Nihill Place in his honour. Our thoughts are with those close to him, including his friends in our borough.
I’d like to wish you all a good weekend, a safe and restful Christmas and a peaceful New Year,
Councillor Hamida Ali, leader of the council
Councillor Hamida Ali, leader of the council