Lack of Distancing at School Gate Blamed for Local Covid-19 Spike

Daily rate in Hounslow borough rises to highest level since April

Picture: BBC
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Parents not social distancing outside of schools has been listed as one of the main reasons data suggests for rising coronavirus cases in Hounslow.

Hounslow’s public health boss Kelly O’Neill urged parents to “please be responsible” as children returned to school this week, as she revealed that in the last seven days the borough had 76 people confirmed positive with the virus.

The number of people who tested positive in the borough on Wednesday (9 September) at 25 was the highest since 30 April.

The 20 to 50-year-old age group were highlighted as the most affected, and that a “small number” of people are currently in hospital after contracting the virus.

The warning comes as two Hounslow schools, Heston Community School and Cranford Community College announced two positive coronavirus cases among their pupils, with a number of further staff and students told to self-isolate. The schools remain open for other students.

Ms O’Neill said, “Hounslow’s rate is below the figure where a local lockdown would be considered, but this sustained increase especially over the last two weeks is a serious health concern. If we are to stop this increase in infection we have to all take responsibility – follow the guidance – look after yourself by socially distancing, wearing a mask and washing your hands…

“We don’t want any risk of a lockdown.”

She added, “The data suggests the three main causes of the increase in positive cases are; people not self-isolating when they return from a destination abroad which is not on the exempt list, parents not socially distancing outside school; and younger people ignoring social distancing when they meet up with friends.”

As of 9 September the cumulative rate of cases since the beginning of the pandemic rose to 510.1 per 100,000, compared to a rate of 477.7 per 100,000 a week previous of September 2.

Council bosses previously warned in August that localised spikes were being recorded in areas such as Chiswick, Cranford, Heston and Hounslow Central and Hounslow West, but council leader Steve Curran further updated residents after efforts to drive down cases that rates had returned to a “low and steady” pace even though 20 cases were reported in Chiswick in the week to 2 September.

The council has now put out a further warning to residents.

Ms O’Neill added, “Teachers have put huge efforts in place to open their schools and make them safe for children to return. Please be responsible as parents – don’t gather in groups at the school gates, wear a mask if it’s busy, don’t send your child to school if they have symptoms and be patient with the schools phased opening arrangements.

“If you’re going on holiday soon, keep up to date with the latest coronavirus news on travel bans and travel corridors. If your destination is not on the official exempt list you will need to self-isolate on your return for 14 days. It is against the law to leave your house during this period. Don’t put others at risk. You should make a plan for how you will get your food and supplies during this time.

“We all need to take responsibility and follow the guidelines if we want to avoid a situation where we cannot visit each other’s homes and where shops and other businesses need to close again.”

For more information to get a test locally, click here.

Anahita Hossein-Pour - Local Democracy Reporter

September 10, 2020

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