The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, today joined the Mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz, to encourage people and businesses in Newham to sign-up to the new covid-19 NHS Test and Trace mobile phone app.
The Mayor visited a walk-in test centre in East Ham, Newham, to see the work taking place in the borough to tackle the spread of the coronavirus.
Newham is currently one of two areas of the country trialling the NHS Test and Trace mobile phone app. It was launched on August 21 and more than 300,000 Newham residents have been encouraged to download it.
The council is using a network of more than 300 volunteers to reach different communities, holding video sessions with voluntary sector groups, faith representatives, business leaders, councillors and young people, and contacting more than 7,000 businesses and venues to display the QR codes that help the app work.
The number of covid-19 cases in the capital has fallen substantially since the peak of the pandemic thanks to the hard work of Londoners, but with the national cases at their highest levels since June and an increase in cases in London, especially among 20-29 year olds, the Mayor believes the Government must do more to ensure that anyone in the capital with symptoms knows how to get tested, is able to get a test locally and that anyone told to isolate is financially supported.
Awareness of testing in the capital has increased in the last two months thanks to the work of London boroughs and the Keep London Safe Campaign, but research on behalf of the GLA has shown that 32 per cent of Londoners are still not confident in how to get a test. A robust localised test and trace system and an effective mobile app are important to address this.
On Tuesday the Government started providing a payment for those on Universal Credit or Working Tax Credit who are told to self-isolate, but that is only in areas of high rates of covid-19 which are all outside of London.
Sadiq believes that financial support for those self-isolating should be extended across the country and be at a high enough level to live on, and has consistently called on the Government to deliver a working test, trace and isolate system, as well as successfully lobbying for London to be part of the NHS Test and Trace mobile phone app trial.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said, “I am pleased to be in Newham to see first-hand how the council is supporting the community in the fight against covid-19. Newham residents have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic due the health inequalities they face, but thanks to their monumental efforts they have slowed the spread of the virus.
“As more of our city opens up, it’s vital that we all continue to follow the public health guidance to prevent a second wave, and I urge Newham residents to download the app and all Londoners to continue doing what they can to protect each other.
“A working test, trace and isolate system is essential if we are to prevent a deadly second wave, and I will continue to call on the Government to ensure local authorities have the resources they need to make test and trace work, and that Ministers ensure nobody who has to self-isolate is pushed into financial hardship.”