I have heard from a number of constituents about price-gouging on reseller sites. The sky high prices being charged by some sellers has been appalling. In response, eBay UK has announced it is to “heavily restrict the sale of all masks and hand sanitiser products from its platform. Unscrupulous sellers attempting to sell these items will find their listings blocked or removed and their account suspended. Only a whitelist of closely vetted eBay sellers will be permitted to continue trading these items.”
I have also had updates from Transport for London today, who are happy to report that number of people using public transport has dropped considerably this week. This helps keep our essential workers safe on their journeys to work. TfL also sent word that:
“Nearly a third of TfL’s staff are now off sick or self-isolating – including train drivers and crucial control centre staff. Many of them have years of safety-critical training in order to run specific lines – so it is simply not possible to replace them with others.
“People should not use public transport unless absolutely necessary. Those who are key workers (should know that) the busiest times are 05:45-07:30 and 16:00-17:30. If possible they may want to avoid travelling at these times.”
TfL have also announced that the Congestion Charge, Ultra Low Emission Zone and Low Emission Zone are suspended, to support critical workers getting to their jobs. And all NHS staff are to be given free access to Santander Cycles.
LONDON AMBULANCE UPDATE
London Ambulance has also been in touch to ask me to relay information to residents. They are saying:
“A significant proportion of calls we are seeing come into our 999 and 111 control centres are from people that could have used nhs.uk/coronavirus. Londoners who are more vulnerable and may not have access to the internet are struggling to get through to our life-saving assistance as a result. Please try to visit nhs.uk/coronavirus rather than calling 111 and to only call 999 in a genuine life-threatening emergency.
London Ambulance has launched a national recruitment drive, calling on former London Ambulance Service staff or other trained ambulance workers to get in touch if they’re able to help. They are also putting out a call asking for voluntary assistance from trained auto mechanics to help keep their ambulances on the road. They would especially appreciate mechanics with experience working with Mercedes and Volkswagen vehicles.
RICHMOND REFUSE AND RECYCLING
The Council has had to close the Townmead Road Refuse and Recycling Centre in Kew. Please keep your uncollectable refuse on your property until Townmead Road can be reopened, and do not leave these items out to be collected with your regular rubbish.
The Council plans to continue with weekly household collections, but are asking residents to please not use their isolation as an opportunity for a big decluttering and thus leave unusual amounts to be collected.
Also, if everyone could be careful to ensure their rubbish containers are tightly secured and avoid littering, we can reduce the workload of our collectors and street cleansers so they can continue working as normal.
In response to an number of enquiries, we have been told by public health authorities that they are continuing to cremate the remains of those who have sadly passed away due to coronavirus. However, at the urging of a number of MPs, myself included, they have agreed to make exceptions for members of religious groups with an objection to cremation.
Check out my resources page www.saraholneymp.org.uk/covid-19-resources for new entrants to my lists of local vendors offering delivery services and resources for parents. If you have anything to add to those lists please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please continue to follow government advice on staying at home and hygiene measures and do get in touch with my office if you need assistance with anything. We are working remotely, and are getting a lot of calls and messages, but we are here to support you.
Sarah Olney MP
Member of Parliament for Richmond Park