Help prevent more COVID deaths

13 November 2020

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

Today I need to share some bad news with you. Confirmed cases of coronavirus in Brent are rising quickly again. This is serious and the human cost is real and truly devastating. We see in the news every day that people are dying from coronavirus, including here in Brent at Northwick Park Hospital. Older people and particularly Asian men seem to be most affected. If you want to protect your loved ones – your parents, aunties, uncles and grandparents – you cannot afford to ignore the rules.

The current national restrictions mean that we all must stay at home, avoid seeing relatives or friends who we do not live with and follow the Public Health Rules. The rules are slightly different to the lockdown earlier this year. Schools and other types of education have stayed open. But the only way to lower the rate of infection in Brent, and protect our freedoms, is to stick to the rules. This is life and death.

This weekend Hindus, Sikhs and Jains will be celebrating Diwali, the festival of lights. Religious festivals and celebrations are such a big part of what makes Brent so special. I know how incredibly difficult the pandemic has been for people of all faiths. Earlier this year, Eid was very different. It’s likely that Hanukkah and Christmas won’t be the same either.

As a person of faith, I feel for you. These celebrations are normally a time when families, friends and neighbours come together. None of us wants to stop seeing our loved ones - particularly at such important times of the year. I know how disappointed many of you who were looking forward to celebrating Diwali with your loved ones, at a time when we need hope and light more than ever, will be. But the terrible reality is that we have got to make hard sacrifices together.

Temples in Brent have decided to remain closed this weekend. I want to thank everyone involved for making this responsible choice. I also want to personally thank everyone who will be celebrating at home and online instead, and wish you a Diwali that brings happiness and joy to you and your family. By staying at home you’ll be helping to protect those closest to you – especially older relatives who may be extremely clinically vulnerable, and are at risk of becoming very seriously ill if they pick up the virus. Although the celebrations will be different, there are still plenty of ways to mark Diwali safely. There is also a virtual Diwali event online

The current restrictions are essential to keep Brent safe, and we must all play our part together. There is no single outbreak in the borough. Instead, we believe COVID-19 is being passed on through community transmission. Most likely, this means people are transferring the virus to family and friends by visiting them in their homes.

So please, stay at home and follow the important Hands, Face, Space guidance. If you do develop symptoms of the virus, stay at home and book a free test straight away by calling 020 8937 4440.

If we all follow the rules and stop the virus spreading among our communities, we will be able to look to better times ahead.

New rapid turnaround COVID testing

Brent has been selected as one of the boroughs that will receive new rapid turnaround COVID tests, which will give results in less than hour. We’re planning to use these initially to protect the most vulnerable groups among our communities, and to maintain critical services. We’re currently waiting for more details from the Department for Health & Social Care about when the tests can be rolled out.