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Coronavirus update Friday 22nd May

Updated: Jul 26, 2023

Crematoria chapels for funeral services to reopen in Leeds next month

I have received the following update from Leeds City Council, that crematoria chapels will reopen from Monday 8 June.

This decision follows a review of the number of cremations taking place in the city. Cremations have reduced to a level which can ensure that the Council can put in place steps to protect the health of mourners. As per pre-coronavirus, service times will continue to be at most 40 minutes and to ensure that appropriate cleaning can take place between each funeral service, the Council has reduced the number of services per day to 9. The reduction will also ensure that the council is able to offer direct cremations along the same lines as pre-coronavirus.

Public Health England have published their guidance to ensure Councils conduct funerals safely. The key message throughout this guidance note is the importance of social distancing to prevent the risk of coronavirus. In line with this guidance, the council has taken the decision to restrict the largest number of mourners to 10 that chapels can allow inside.

To protect the health and well-being of all individuals in the chapel, LLC ask that mourners maintain social distancing at all times. Toilets and hand washing facilities will be available at each of the crematoria, aswell as hand sanitiser for mourners to use upon entering and exiting the chapel areas.

LCC will ensure a thorough clean between each funeral service and that mourners do not overlap with the next funeral service coming in.

LCC will be working with Funeral Directors to keep services in the chapel to the specified length of time. Due to the severe impact coronavirus continues to have on services in the city, bereavement service fees will remain at 2019 prices.

Test, trace and isolate strategy

Labour has always argued that the lockdown itself is not a strategy, and that the government need to build a strategy to control the virus. This is something that we need the government to succeed in this.

Easing restrictions on the economy and reopening society will only work if there is an effective test, trace and isolate system in place. With the right system, we can avoid another damaging lockdown and reduce the risks to the public’s health as we open up our society.

The UK’s decision to abandon contact tracing on 12 March is one of the most serious mistakes of the crisis and we are still unsure if the government plans will be ready by 1 June as promised.

This is why Labour has set out a 10-point plan for an effective test, track and protect system. People are still anxious about the future, publishing a clear, detailed strategy is vital in restoring public confidence and keeping people safe.

Serco data breach

Outsourcing firm Serco have apologised after accidentally sharing the email addresses of almost 300 contact tracers.

The government’s contact tracing programme will rely on people having the confidence to pass on sensitive personal data. This data breach raises serious questions for the government about the capability of Serco to do so.

It is concerning that the government has so far failed to publish any information about the contract it has awarded to Serco. The public will need far greater transparency if they are to have faith in the companies entrusted to deliver the government’s response to COVID.

Ending rough sleeping

Coronavirus is the biggest crisis our country has faced for a generation, but it has also presented us with a once in a generation opportunity: to help thousands of rough sleepers off the streets for good.

Thanks to the incredible work of local government, and dedicated funding, that opportunity is within our grasp. The government have committed to protecting vulnerable rough sleepers for the duration of the pandemic, but the dedicated funding to house rough sleepers is set to run out and so far the Government have published no clear plans for future funding, or put in place resources for what happens next.

The government needs to provide clarity on their ‘Everyone In’ policy. The policy must also include those made homeless during the coronavirus pandemic, without this we could see rough sleepers ending up back on the streets.

We also need to see policy changes for those with no recourse to public funds, and changes to Local Housing Allowance and Housing Benefit. These changes will enable us to help rough sleepers move into longer-term accommodation.

Bank Holiday Weekend

I understand that the weather forecast for the Bank Holiday weekend is going to be reasonably good, but please remember that although we have had an easing of lockdown measures we still must Stay at home as much as possible, ensure that we social distance at least 2 metres away from other people whilst out and only meet 1 family member or friend from another household in a park and maintain social distancing with them.

I fully appreciate as time goes on lockdown becomes harder and more tiresome for a lot of people, but if we ignore the measures now we risk undoing all the hard work that’s already been done and could see a rise in the ‘R’ number and even a second wave of the virus.

Please Stay home, Protect the NHS and Save Lives.

‘Ask Alex’

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