URGENT message from Kelly O’Neill, Director of Public Health LBH

Please take urgent note of the following message from Kelly O’Neill and also communicate this information to any other congregations which hire your premises.

Dear Hounslow Faith Leaders  

You will be aware of the need for us all to play our part in responding to the current national crisis around (coronavirus) Covid-19 and the importance of working together to reduce the spread of infection. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you it can be fatal, and is particularly dangerous for older people, those with a long-term health condition, and pregnant women.

Whilst many of you have taken notice and been responsible for your congregation’s health and wellbeing, it is becoming increasingly apparent that responsible action to stop mass gatherings has not been applied across all your congregations.

As Director of Public Health for the Borough of Hounslow I am responsible for ensuring that the health and wellbeing of our residents is protected and not  unnecessarily put at risk by lack of responsible action 

I am writing to ask that you to recognise that unless you stop these gatherings which  significantly increase the risk of infection for your congregation, especially to your older worshippers who are particularly vulnerable, you  are at considerable risk of increasing the spread and putting lives in danger.

As you will be aware, it is the parents and grandparents of your communities, and our brothers and sisters with long term health conditions for whom there is greater risk of severe symptoms and the need to access specialist health services. If we allow transmission to be rapid the reality is that we overload critical health services and their ability to protect those we care about from this virus, and this is a risk to life. I’m afraid that is the consequence of not taking action.

Challenging times call for tough words and I make no excuses for the directness of this message. We each have a responsibility to act in the best interests of our communities and help protect the health and wellbeing of our most vulnerable residents. We should not put them at avoidable risk.  

The following guidance is available for you to review:

Church of England: https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-churches

Muslim Council of Britain: https://mcb.org.uk/mcb-updates/coronavirus-guidance-for-mosques-and-madrassas/

Catholic Church:    https://www.catholicnews.com/services/englishnews/2020/churches-begin-canceling-masses-in-effort-to-stem-covid-19-pandemic.cfm

 The Board of Deputies of British Jews:  https://www.bod.org.uk/coronavirus/

 My best wishes to you Kelly

 Kelly O’Neill | Director of Public Health

5th Floor, Hounslow House

7 Bath Road,

Hounslow, TW3 3EB

London Borough of Hounslow

0208 583 3142

07971 473 931