COVID is spreading like wildfire - please stay at home and save lives

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COVID is spreading like wildfire - please stay at home 

An important message from Councillor Muhammed Butt, Leader of Brent Council

The new variant of COVID-19 is spreading like wildfire across England and we are not immune in Brent. I know that statistics don’t always tell the human story but the graph below should be a wake-up call to us all. It shows the number of people seriously ill in hospital with COVID is now three times higher than it was in November when there were just over 9,000 people admitted to hospitals in England with COVID-19. Today there are more than 26,626 people struggling to fight the virus in our hospitals.

Anyone can catch this virus, I know this all too well as I was ill with COVID-19 over Christmas which knocked me for six. It was a horrendous experience and you can hear more about it here.

I had migraines, the shivers, I couldn’t get out of bed, couldn’t stop coughing and struggled to breathe normally. Thanks to all the great help and advice from the NHS, I am now on my way to getting over the virus but not everyone is this fortunate.

graph showing covid hospital admissions in england

The number of cases circulating around our community is around five times higher than it was in November. Sadly, this only leads to more hospitalisations and Northwick Park, like other hospitals all over England, is working flat out to keep people alive. More than 100 people have needed mechanical ventilation to help them breathe over recent days and currently around one Brent resident is dying every day. This is a human tragedy.

I have lost people I love in my family to COVID-19 over the past year and my heart goes out to all those who have had to grieve loved ones. I don’t say any of this to shock you but we do all need to realise the seriousness of the situation we are in. We need to get back to the spirit of March and April 2020 and support the NHS and key workers battling COVID by staying at home.

COVID-19 is not ‘just the flu’, or a hoax or something to shrug off as an irritation.

It is really important that we all stay at home. If you do need to leave your home for one of the acceptable reasons – like to get a COVID test or care for a loved one or escape domestic violence – please do the right thing and wash your hands, cover your face with a mask and keep 2 metres away from anyone you don’t live with.

This past year has been a terrible one for so many people. If you are struggling, the council is here to help. You can find out more about what financial help there is available on our website. There is also a huge amount of mental health and wellbeing support available in Brent including free online workshops throughout January in multiple languages. Workshops include Stress and Worry Management and Low Mood and Anxiety.

You can also get focused support by phone, video call or online treatments by visiting the Talking Therapies website. If you need urgent mental health support, you can also access the following services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week:

Samaritans – call 116 123

SHOUT – text 85258

There is light at the end of this very long tunnel. There are now two vaccines being delivered and the NHS is doing an amazing job treating those who need it the most. There is hope this year but we all need to pull together and support one another. If we all do our bit we can look forward to better times ahead.

Until then, please Stay at Home - Protect the NHS and Save Lives.

Schools and settings update


The Prime Minister has announced that a new national lockdown will come into force at 00:01 on Wednesday 6 January.

During the period of national lockdown, schools, alternative provision, special schools, and colleges will remain open to vulnerable children and young people and the children of critical workers only. Public vocational exams and assessments scheduled to take place in January will go ahead as planned. All other children and students will learn remotely until February half term.

Higher Education provision will remain online until mid-February for all except future critical worker courses.

All early years providers (including registered childminders but not including reception years in primary schools) can remain open during this period of national lockdown.

Man in hospital bed with COVID slogan

Stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives

The Main Rule - Stay at home. 

Exceptions to the rule. You should only leave your home:

  • if you need to work (if you can't work from home)
  • to go shopping
  • for education (although schools are closed for many pupils)
  • to care for someone
  • to exercise in your local area
  • to go to a hospital, GP or have a COVID-19 test
  • if you are at risk of harm. 

You can only see: 

  • people who live with you under the same roof
  • people in your support or childcare bubble
  • one other person to exercise outdoors with.

Read a full list of the rules.

Brent is stronger together, by testing together

Testing site

Everyone in Brent aged 12 and over can now get free and regular coronavirus tests, even if you haven’t got symptoms.

We all need to get tested even if you feel well, as 1 in 3 people who have COVID-19 show no symptoms but could be sharing the virus with loved ones and around the community without knowing.

The more of us that have the test, the more we’ll be able to contain the virus, and the faster we can get back to the lives we love.

There are two types of test available, either the standard PCR swab test for people with symptoms or the rapid lateral flow test for people without symptoms.

It's important that you book the right test otherwise you will be turned away.

>> Book a test if you have symptoms (or you can also call 020 8937 4440)

>> Book a test if you don't have symptoms

NHS COVID Vaccination Programme now underway

Dr MC Patel discusses getting the COVID vaccine

The NHS is currently offering the COVID-19 vaccine to people most at risk from coronavirus. At this time, it is being offered to some people aged 80 and over, people who work in care homes and health care workers at high risk.

The NHS will get in touch with you directly when it’s your turn to be vaccinated. Please don’t contact your doctor or the NHS asking about vaccination, as it’s not a service you can book in advance.

>> Learn more about the NHS COVID-19 Vaccination Programme in North West London

>> WATCH: Dr MC Patel, a GP in Brent, shares his experience of having the vaccination

Accessible formats and different languages

The dedicated COVID-19 section of our website includes information, support and signposts about coronavirus in accessible formats and alternative languages, including:

Translate our website

Click ‘Translate this page’ to translate any page on our website to one of 90 languages including: Arabic, Farsi, Gujarati, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Somali and Tamil.

Please support friends, family members or neighbours who do not speak English as a first language by offering to translate this email for them.

Stay at home, Jan 2021