Its Sunday Wednesfield – But Its Not A Normal Sunday!

Good Morning Wednesfield – A sunny start to the day with a very Cold Wind. That is perhaps the most normal thing that will be said today, Oh! and the clocks went forward an hour last night! As many of you reading this should be inside your homes and sheltering from the Corona Virus. Those that are volunteering for the NHS and the Local Authority alongside those residents that are working because you are on the front line so to speak with the NHS workers. You have Mary and my own with Rita’s ‘Big Thank You’ for providing your enthusiasm and expertise in the current circumstances, in our community and further. It goes without saying, but I will repeat it. Please keep safe,take note of the Government guidance, keep washing those hands as well!

Now into the very bad news as the death toll across the Country has passed the 1,000 mark- The information I receive in a morning briefing from the Local Government Information Unit tells me that. I thought this morning you would benefit from reading what is happening a little further away from Wolverhampton as the Authorities try hard to combat Covid-19.

“The NHS warns against COVID-19 complacency as death toll passes 1,000 – “Now is not the time to be complacent,” NHS England medical director Stephen Powis has warned. He said “every one of us” had a part to play if the UK was to keep the death toll under 20,000. The professor was speaking after the UK’s Covid-19 death toll reached 1,019. Prof Powis said: “If we can keep deaths below 20,000 we will have done very well in this epidemic”, before adding: “If we can reduce the transmission rate between the population then the virus will start to decline”. Meanwhile, a letter from Boris Johnson will be sent to 30m households next week, warning that “things will get worse before they get better” and urging the public to “stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.” The Prime Minister adds that the Government will “not hesitate to go further if that is what the scientific and medical advice tells us we must do. Elsewhere, Business Secretary Alok Sharma announced that insolvency rules will be changed to allow firms greater flexibility as they face the coronavirus crisis. He added that a range of measures to boost the supply of personal protective equipment, such as face masks to protect frontline NHS staff, are also being introduced. The Health and Safety Executive and local authorities will be asked to fast-track PPE through the product safety assessment process, and to make this a priority over “market surveillance activity.”

Councils report coronavirus-related abuse of staff
A number of councils have reported staff being abused while delivering essential services amid the coronavirus pandemic. In Swindon, recycling centre workers were spat at and sworn at after the service was restricted to essential visits only. In Northampton, bus drivers and road maintenance staff have been shouted at by members of the public confused as to why they are still working on the highways. Police are also investigating reports that a Bristol council worker was racially abused by a man in relation to the COVID-19 outbreak. And a Southend community support officer was enforcing the Government’s social distancing guidelines when a cyclist rode into him, breaking the officer’s leg. LGA chair Cllr James Jamieson said: “I am appalled because, in the current crisis, people are working very, very hard and pulling together. I am seeing an increase across the country in workers going the extra mile and working seven days a week.”

Report warns of services being overwhelmed by COVID-19 deaths
A paper by academics from the University of Huddersfield has warned that death and bereavement services will highly likely be overwhelmed even if just 1% of people who contract COVID-19 die as a result. A major increase in mortality rates, coupled with staff absences, would lead to struggles issuing death certificates, a bottleneck in funeral services and overfilled mortuaries, they warn. Limited cemetery space could also be a major problem, with mass graves a possibility. The predictions were based on analysis of a northern English local authority’s capacity to manage excess deaths resulting from a pandemic. The authors’ analysis suggests services in the area would be over capacity each week by several hundred bodies, based on an overall death rate of 1%.

First tenant handed ‘coronavirus injunction’
In what is thought to be the first injunction imposed to enforce new Government rules on coronavirus, Preston Crown Court has ruled against a tenant who was reported to be holding parties with more than 20 guests at a time, flouting social distancing guidelines. The legal order was requested by the Mosscare St Vincent’s housing association. The injunction prohibits any visitors to the tenant, and will remain in place until official guidance on social distancing changes.

Manchester Mayor wants stricter business lockdown rules
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has warned that that hundreds of companies in Manchester have remained open “without good reason” during the coronavirus lockdown, and he has called for stricter policy on businesses from the Government, following complaints from workers. Mayor Burnham is also seeking legal advice about whether it is possible to enforce action against firms that put employees at risk.

Big tech helps prioritise NHS equipment distribution
The NHS has confirmed it is teaming up with leading tech firms to ensure critical medical equipment is available to the facilities most in need during the coronavirus outbreak. US companies Microsoft, Google, Amazon and Palantir, as well as London-based Faculty AI, will create computer dashboard screens to show the spread of the virus and the healthcare system’s ability to deal with it. These will draw on data gathered via 111 calls and COVID-19 test results. The first should be made available to Government decision-makers next week.

Police issue domestic abuse warning
Police have warned that more people may find themselves being victims of domestic abuse under measures designed to stop the spread of coronavirus. Being stuck at home due to social distancing is a “very daunting prospect” for victims of domestic abuse, Leicestershire Police has said. Health concerns and job losses may also add pressure, causing some people to experience abuse for the first time. ONS data shows that an estimated 1.6m women and 786,000 men experienced domestic abuse in England and Wales in the year ending March 2019.

Home Office to hold on evicting asylum seekers during lockdown
The Home Office will suspend evictions of asylum seekers staying government accommodation for twelve weeks as the coronavirus lockdown continues, the British Red Cross has said. Home Office minister Chris Philp wrote to the charity on Friday to confirm that people would not be asked to leave their asylum accommodation once their claim or appeal had been decided.
The Guardian

WASTE -Council could impose fines for failure to recycle
Bath & North East Somerset Council could become the first local authority in England to fine households that throw away packaging that could be recycled. The threat to introduce the “formal enforcement” comes after the council declared a climate emergency last year. Cllr Sarah Warren, cabinet member for climate emergency, said: “We want to become carbon-neutral through a raft of measures, including reducing waste by encouraging recycling and discouraging the use of single-use plastics”. Whilst three councils – Islington, Mid Devon and Swindon – have made recycling mandatory, no English council has ever imposed a fine for not doing so.

EDUCATION – Metropolitan Police faces legal challenge over officers in schools
The family of an autistic boy has taken the Metropolitan Police to the High Court over the deployment of officers in schools, which is said to have “disproportionality negative consequences” for black and minority ethnic boys and those with special educational needs. The family of the boy, known only as A for legal reasons, is challenging the Met over so-called Safer Schools Officers, about 300 of which are currently working in schools across London. A, who says he was investigated by the Crown Prosecution Service after he got into a verbal altercation with a member of staff, is challenging the Met’s alleged failure to “monitor, assess and understand the equalities implications of putting police officers in schools in London.”

All these stories and articles were gathered by the LGIU from various media and newspapers this morning.

Please stay safe Wednesfield!

Phil Bateman

Phil Bateman is Married to Mary and lives in Wednesfield North. He was a long serving local politician having served previously on the now defunct West Midlands County Council... read more