Coronavirus – How will Caterham Cope?

Coronavirus began in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China where to date there have been over 3000 deaths recorded. It spread to the UK and on the 31st January 2020 the first case of Coronavirus was confirmed in the UK at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle. Within weeks the virus had spread and by the beginning of March cases had been detected in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland resulting in Boris Johnson declaring the Outbreak to be classed as a pandemic on the ’11th March’

On the Friday 28th February the first case of the virus was confirmed in Surrey and there have been 7 subsequent deaths at a Surrey Hospital in Redhill (Surrey County Council and Public Health England).

More than likely we have all by now experienced the panic buying and consequently lack of precious basic commodities such as rice, pasta and milk in our local supermarkets however recent days have seen this behaviour improve due to the queuing system implemented in accordance with the social distancing rules and capping on certain items which are commonly purchased.

‘The Caterham and District Independent’spoke to Elaine Jackson (Acting Chief Executive) and her team at Tandridge District Council (TDC) and discussed the impact on the borough which included the measures which the council have put into place to help the whole area.

These include working with Surrey County Council, parish councils and Tandridge Voluntary Action (TVA) to provide support to older and vulnerable people. Surrey County Council has a community helpline number (0300 200 1008) , which helps direct residents who need support, such as picking up shopping, prescription collections or having someone who can be a telephone friend, to services who can help. Tandridge Voluntary Action (TVA) is registering a pool of potential volunteers to support the local community in the next few weeks/months. To register your interest to be a volunteer, visit or call 01883 722593.

Elaine Jackson, Acting Chief Executive also said:’We are working closely with our partners across Surrey including other councils, health and the emergency services to provide a co-ordinated response to this current crisis and to ensure our residents and businesses have all the support we can give them. We are working with Tandridge Voluntary Action and the parish councils to develop the community response to support the most vulnerable in the district. I urge everyone to follow the national advice to stay at home. This will protect our family and friends, as well as the NHS and ensure those key workers who need to keep working remain fit and well. Most of our staff are working from home, with a few critical functions running from our offices. We are doing everything we can to keep essential services running. To help us manage any requests from customers, please visit our website first to see if the information you need is there, before calling us. This will free up the phone lines for those who cannot access our services online and who really do need to call us.’

Along with the council elections being delayed, the Council is reviewing all its services to ensure the most critical such as paying benefits, collecting bins and providing support to the most vulnerable can continue. The council is currently reviewing activities to redeploy staff into other more critical services as and when they are needed. As there are more people at home, there is an increase in the amount of waste being collected. Some waste collection services may take longer and there may be delays or the service temporarily suspended.

Our NHS staff have been incredible working day after day to help us get through this pandemic. The paper recently spoke to Registered Nurse owner of Gillett First Aid Training Lucy Gillett about her experience of working at a Surrey Hospital. Lucy explained

‘As an Emergency Department nurse of a Surrey Hospital I want to thank the local public not only for following the guidelines to stay at home, as its clearly making a difference but also for their generous support and love. I think I can speak for all medical staff and carers; whilst these times are stressful working in such scary conditions with very limited protective equipment, it is nothing but a complete honour to be able to care, help and hopefully save the lives of Surrey & Sussex’s most effected patient’s and victims of COVID-19.’

This is such a tragic time for Caterham and once this crisis is over both us and our local businesses will need support and investment that that we can start to rebuild our lives. Needless to say lets help each other to starve the virus by following the following the Government guidelines, protecting our incredible NHS and STAYING AT HOME.


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