Leader of Redbridge Council responds to latest Government announcement on COVID-19

Published: 20 March 2020

Monday 23 March

COVID-19: Latest Government announcement

In response to the latest Government announcement on COVID-19, the Leader of the Council, Councillor Jas Athwal, Leader of Redbridge Council, has said:

“In light of tonight’s announcement, the message is very clear, we all need to stay in our homes and only leave in the most important circumstances. As the Prime Minister stated this evening, we must only travel if it is deemed essential.  That means travelling to the supermarkets for vital essentials, to the chemist for medication or to work, but only if you can’t work from home. We can also exercise once a day outdoors, but only while maintaining social distancing and by yourself or with a member of your household.

“The COVID-19 virus is proving to be extremely serious, and it’s more important now than ever that we follow this guidance to protect ourselves and others. These measures are essential for our safety and will ensure that we finally get on top of this and save thousands of lives in the process.

“We will of course continue to ensure that the most vital local services that our residents rely on are protected. This means that some of the services we provide will inevitably change, and we ask that you bear with us. We will continue to provide information on the Council’s website and through our social media channels with the most up-to-date information about council services.

“We have set up a new Wellbeing service to provide advice and support to those most vulnerable to the virus in our communities. This includes assistance with food, shopping deliveries and support they might need to keep them safe and secure in their home. Anyone who needs support should call 020 8708 5555 from Monday to Friday between the hours of 9am and 5pm.

“We know how resilient our communities are, and I thank you for your patience and understanding as we work tirelessly to protect residents, particularly those who are most vulnerable, from COVID-19"


Friday 20 March

COVID-19): Price hiking in local shops

The Leader of Redbridge Council, Councillor Jas Athwal, has responded to complaints concerning local shops in the borough inflating prices significantly to residents during the current COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Leader said: “At a time, when we all need to pull together it’s very sad that some shops are using the opportunity to hugely inflate prices. This is unacceptable and I have written to the Secretary of State requesting urgent action. To help protect local people from price hiking, the Council will add a report function to our website and send round Trading Standards teams to investigate.

"When the vast majority of our neighbours are selflessly going out of their way to help those in need, it is shameful to see this exploitation.

"We all have the power to vote with our feet so if you see price hiking, take your custom elsewhere and also help the community by reporting it to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)”

COVID-19): A message from Councillor Jas Athwal, Leader of Redbridge Council

We are facing an unprecedented challenge in the form of COVID-19 but let me reassure you, we are equal to this challenge. Our council staff are working extremely hard to prepare and I have been carefully overseeing the Redbridge response in partnership with our local NHS.

It’s times like this that we must remember how important and supportive our local community is. Already I know many of you have reached out to friends, neighbours, and to the Council to offer help. It’s this community spirit that will serve us all well over the coming weeks and months and I want to thank all those who have contacted me personally to volunteer.

Redbridge Council will be coordinating volunteers who wish to support their neighbours and will send you more information on this in the coming days.

There is so much we can do as individuals and as a community to stop the spread of COVID-19 and to protect the vulnerable. Please read the advice below and let us all do our part to overcome this challenge.

The Government advice is:

  • If you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus illness (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms started
  • Anyone living with someone with a new continuous cough or a temperature above 37.8° should also stay at home for fourteen days from when symptoms started
  • People should avoid "non-essential" travel and contact with others

The Government has advised we each take the following steps:

  • Ensure personal hygiene, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds as regularly as possible, especially after sneezing, coughing or blowing your nose
  • Stay away from others if experiencing the symptoms mentioned above, new continuous cough or high temperature
  • Avoid social gatherings, and social spaces like pubs, theatres and restaurants
  • Look after the most vulnerable and elderly friends, family members and neighbours, ensuring non-face to face contact is maintained and support is provided in a safe and appropriate way

The Council will continue to provide vital frontline services. If there are any changes to services we will let you know.  Hardship funding and discretionary housing payments will continue as normal, and if you are finding it difficult to pay your council tax we can agree a payment plan. For more information please visit the Benefits page on our website.

In line with government advice, local schools will stay open. This may change and parents will be updated directly by schools. Please keep an eye on your children’s school website for information.

It is important that any economic hardship suffered by local people and businesses is mitigated as much as possible and so I have written to the Government calling for mortgage relief, rent breaks and business rate relief measures to be implemented.

Locally there has been an increase in people bulk buying in shops, this is unnecessary and can prevent others from having access to things they really need. Please do think before you shop. make sure to only buy what you and your family need and leave enough for others.

It has also been reported to me that some smaller local shops have begun price hiking essential items. This is totally unacceptable. If you notice any businesses profiteering, please report them by clicking here.

For more information on COVID-19 please do go to the following websites:

NHS Website:  www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Redbridge Council Website:  www.redbridge.gov.uk/coronavirus/

We will share other relevant information with you over the coming days and weeks, and in the meantime, please take care and look out for your neighbours. If you would like to receive news by email, please sign-up at: www.Redbridge.gov.uk/signup.

I know that together we will overcome the challenge of COVID-19 by supporting one another, listening to government advice and coming together as a community.

Councillor Jas Athwal
Leader of Redbridge Council


Tuesday 10 March - 11.30am

The first case of Coronavirus (COVID-19) has been confirmed in the London Borough of Redbridge. It was confirmed as part of the latest table of confirmed cases provided by Public Health England. 

Public Health England and Redbridge Council have issued the following joint statement. 

Dr Edward Wynne-Evans, head of PHE’s North East and North Central London health protection team said:

“Public Health England is contacting people who had close contact with one of the latest confirmed cases of COVID-19. The case is a resident of Redbridge and became infected whilst in Italy. Close contacts will be given health advice about symptoms and emergency contact details to use if they become unwell in the 14 days after contact with the confirmed case. This tried and tested method will ensure we are able to minimise any risk to them and the wider public.”

Director of Public Health for Redbridge Council, Gladys Xavier, said:

“I’d like to reassure people that the risk to the general public remains low and we are working with health colleagues to do everything we can to stop the virus spreading and ensure the people of Redbridge are protected.

“If you have not been contacted by Public Health England as a close contact of the confirmed case you do not need to take any action at this time. Good hygiene is the best prevention and there are some simple steps you can take to protect you and your family by washing your hands regularly and thoroughly and if you cough, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue.

“If you have recently been to one of the affected areas and are feeling unwell, you should use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service  – please don’t go to your doctor or a hospital.

“There’s lots of advice on how people can protect themselves online at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus









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