Leader of Richmond Council tells coronavirus rule flouters to 'pack it in'

The leader of one of London‘s wealthiest boroughs today bluntly told people flouting Covid-19 rules to “pack it in” and stop putting other people’s lives and jobs at risk.

In a hart-hitting intervention, Gareth Roberts, Leader of Richmond Council, warned that the whole of London could be put into a social lockdown soon if coronavirus cases continue to rise.

Highlighting a report in today’s Evening Standard, which revealed there had been more than 130 cases in the borough in a week, he put out a video appeal for residents to follow the social distancing and good hygiene rules.

“It’s thought that this is the largest, single week’s increase that we have ever seen,” he told residents in the South West London borough which up until now had seen low levels of Covid.

“Of course, we want to ensure that we don’t go into local lockdown.

“But what we have to be aware of is that the mood music coming out of London is that if one area of London goes into local lockdown we all go into local lockdown and we need to avoid that if at all possible.

“Therefore, it’s absolutely vital we follow all the rules to avoid spreading the virus.”

He emphasised that people must wear masks – covering both mouth and nose – on the Tube and other public transport, which a significant number of people still are not doing, as well as in supermarkets, shops and other enclosed public spaces.

They must also follow the Rule of Six and keep to two-metre distancing as according to the guidelines.

New coronavirus cases average 10,000 a day in new UK record

Clearly frustrated by the rule flouters, Cllr Roberts added: “If you are one of those people who thinks that these rules don’t apply to you, that you can go about your business as you have always done, now you may not care about your own health, you may not care about your own job but you are putting other people’s health at risk, you are putting other people’s jobs at risk.

“So please, pack it in, wear the mask, wash your hands, keep the social distancing.

“It’s absolutely vital that we all follow these rules because the increase of cases that we have seen over the last seven days is something that should be concerning all of us.”

Latest figures showed the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in London has jumped to more than 4,800 a week.

London’s weekly coronavirus cases rises to more than 4,800

They show an increase of 4,824 in the week to October 1, compared to a rise of 3,363 in the previous week, and 1,875 a week earlier.

East London is the major hotspot in the capital with 249 confirmed cases in Redbridge in the week to October 1, 234 in Newham, and 207 in Tower Hamlets.

There were also 240 new cases in Barnet, 233 in Ealing and 216 in the Hackney & City area, and 142 in Richmond.

Hundreds of the new cases in the capital are believed to be among the 15,841 between September 25 and October 2 which were not swiftly reported and transferred to the test-and-trace system, meaning delays in tracking down thousands of “contacts” who may have to self-isolate given their links to infected individuals.

The rise in confirmed infections in the city may also be down to extra testing since it was declared an area of Covid concern on September 25.

The latest figures also showed rising infection rates in most of London, with ten borough areas now above 60 new cases per 100,000 in the week to October 1.

They include Redbridge at 81.6, followed by Hackney and the City of London at 74.3, Richmond 71.7, Haringey 71.1, Ealing 68.2, Newham 66.3, Tower Hamlets 63.7, Hounslow 61.9, Barnet 60.6, as well as Barking and Dagenham 60.1, according to analysis by the PA news agency.

However, this is still far below the worst hotspots in the country.

Manchester now has the highest rate in England, at 495.6 cases per 100,000 people, followed by Liverpool on 456.4.

Evening Standard – London