'Let's avoid another lockdown': Warning for Islington to be cautious
Julia Gregory LDRS
- Credit: LDRS
An Islington health champion has urged people to stay Covid-vigilant to avoid the possibility of being plunged into another lockdown like other European countries.
Oliur Rahman is one of an army of Islington health champions who get training and meet regularly online to give people accurate information about looking after their health.
Almost 400 have died in Islington since the pandemic started.
Oliur said: “We need to be supportive of each other at this difficult time.
“The rate of infection is high. We need to be careful with our children, who have lost their time in this pandemic.”
The roll-out of the vaccine is “contributing to significantly lower levels of hospitals admissions and deaths in Islington compared with the first and second waves in 2020 and early 2021”, according to Islington Council.
According to figures, there were 88 Covid admissions at the Royal Free, University of London College Hospital and the Whittington, which all serve Islington, in the week ending 7 November.
Currently, infection rates are higher in the 5-19 age bracket and most cases are in people of working age – mainly under-40s.
Rahman said people need to continue to keep their distance, use hand sanitiser, get vaccinated and wear face masks.
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Winter chills mean people may feel less keen to meet outside or open windows to improve ventilation, both of which cut the risk of Covid.
Rahman said people need to enjoy their lives as they prepare for the festive season but think about avoiding crowded places.
More and more are not wearing face coverings in public places and public transport, but they can help prevent transmission of Covid.
Rahman said: “[The powers that be] should be more strict about it.”
The 45-year-old works on reception at some of west London’s biggest hospitals and said there are strict rules there on wearing face masks.
His comments, though not directed at Boris Johnson, came as the prime minister found himself under fire for reportedly only partially wearing a face covering at Islington’s Almeida Theatre, which advises audience members to don them.
Rahman moved to the UK from Bangladesh and said the Bangladeshi community was hit hard and lost community leaders to the pandemic.
The father-of-two lives in the Caledonian Road area and has been involved as a community champion for several years.
He has been working to help Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, which have been disproportionately affected by the virus, get the vaccine.
An analysis of Covid deaths up to August found they were 1.7 times higher overall among people from Asian communities and 1.5 times higher among Black communities compared with the average.
Rahman said word-of-mouth is crucial and urged people to encourage their friends to get the vaccine to help save lives.
He said there is a language barrier for some and people may not know where to get the vaccine.
“Some people are shy,” he added.
He has taken calls from people who are anxious about getting the vaccine or any possible side effects and said he advises them not to be scared.
“It is not a scary thing, it will protect your life,” he said.
“People should think very seriously about the advice. We need to support each other and we need to stand side by side.”
He has been involved in sharing information about the virus and has made videos in several languages spoken by Bangladeshi residents to help counter myths and address their concerns.
He has also been handing out leaflets to get the message out.
He also praised moves like the mass vaccine events at the Emirates Stadium, saying: “It was a brilliant idea. I have requested they organise this again.”
Details about the vaccine centres at King Square Community Centre on Pankhurst Terrace and West Library on Bridgeman Road, pharmacies offering the jab, as well as walk-in options, are available here. People can also visit for advice with no obligation to get the jab.