URGENT INFORMATION FOR ALL KEYWORKERS and RESIDENTS about CORONA VIRUS TESTING  

Hounslow will be hosting a Mobile Testing Unit for coronavirus testing for keyworkers and residents at Grasshoppers’ Rugby Club, Osterley, on Tuesday 23rd June and Wednesday 24th June 2020. 

Mobile Testing Units are an essential part of the national testing programme as they offer pedestrian appointments as well as drive-through appointments.  

You must register via the gov.uk portal before attending a mobile testing unit, and bring your 16-digit code or appointment confirmation with you on your mobile phone.  

Testing site location: 

Grasshoppers Rugby Club, Syon Lane, Osterley, Isleworth,  TW7 5PN 

Criteria for testing if you are a KEYWORKER 

You can use this testing facility if you are: 

  •  an essential worker 
  • live with an essential worker  

If you are an essential worker in the NHS or social care you can be tested with or without symptoms. Regular testing is important for staff to prevent outbreaks of coronavirus among vulnerable residents.  

If you are an essential worker, but not in the NHS or social care, you can get tested if you are within the first five days of coronavirus symptoms.  

Coronavirus symptoms are: 

  • a high temperature 
  • a new, continuous cough 
  • a loss of or change to your sense of smell or taste 

Criteria for testing of RESIDENTS 

Anyone over the age of 5 who is symptomatic is now able to receive a test at one of the testing centres. You should be within the first 5 days of symptoms when you have your test, as otherwise it is not effective.  

Coronavirus symptoms are: 

  • a high temperature 
  • a new, continuous cough 
  • a loss of or change to your sense of smell or taste 

This test can tell you if you have coronavirus at the time the swab sample is taken. The test to tell if you’ve ever had coronavirus (‘antibody test’) is not available yet. 

The information on certain pages on the gov.uk website may contradict this. This has been flagged to the national team operating the website. Please be assured that the criteria listed above are the most up to date and correct for testing.  

Book an appointment: 

Appointments are open for both Tuesday and Wednesday at Grasshoppers’ Mobile Testing Unit from 8pm on Monday 22nd June via the gov.uk link:  https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested 

If you would like a pedestrian appointment at the Mobile Testing Unit, please put “unknown” in the box requiring your vehicle registration number. This should allow you to continue the booking process.  

If you have any problems refer to the helpline detailed below, or you can use the 16-digit authorisation code that is sent you via SMS and go to the testing centre anytime on foot or in a car between 10.30 and 15.30 where local authority staff will help you. Please do not take public transport.  

The testing centre will be operating between 10.30-15.30 on both Tuesday and Wednesday.   

Alternative testing provision 

Please note that if an appointment is not available at the Grasshoppers’ site, then the same testing criteria apply for bookings at the Twickenham testing site and they operate 7 days a week. They do however only offer drive-in appointments. 

There are also home testing kits available, bookable via the same self-service portal on the gov.uk website.  

Questions or problems 

If anyone has any problems booking via the portal, please contact the National Coronavirus Testing Helpline on 0300 303 2713  

Capacity for testing is limited so is released on an hourly basis; it is recommended to try at regular intervals to access an appointment.  

If you have any questions about testing, please contact publichealth@hounslow.gov.uk 

Response to the Terrorist Attack

Hounslow Friends of Faith endorse the following statement:

Our thoughts and prayers are with all affected by the terrorist stabbing attack in Reading on Saturday, in which three people were killed by the attacker and others injured, including those who responded to it with such bravery.

We condemn in the strongest possible terms terrorism and extremist ideologies that underpin it.

Let us stand together in resolute resistance to such murderous acts and in solidarity with those who are affected by them.

This weekend is one on which the murder by another violent extremist four years ago of the late Jo Cox MP is remembered. Her words, ‘We have more in common than that which divides us’, have been at the heart of that remembering and have great resonance.

On all that we hold in common, and appreciating also our diversity, let us continue to work together with courage and commitment to develop and strengthen our shared society in ways rooted in, and characterised by, our shared values such as justice, compassion, pursuit of learning and wisdom, respect, and peace.

We close as we began, holding in our thoughts and prayers all those affected by yesterday’s attack.

A statement on behalf of the Board and the Moderators of the Faith Communities Forum of the Inter Faith Network for the UK

#Blacklivesmatter

Councillor Katherine Dunne, Cabinet Member for Communities and Climate Emergency at Hounslow Council, published this statement on Tuesday 2nd June:

“We are deeply saddened ​and angered by the death of George Floyd and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

For this reason we will be lighting up Hounslow House in purple this evening (Tuesday 2 June) to stand in solidarity with ​black people in the US, the UK and around the world​.

It is incumbent on all of us to stand up to discrimination, violence, racism and injustice and to declare that Black Lives Matter.”

Act of Committment

At the turn of the Millennium the faith communities of the UK developed this Act of Commitment. The interfaith group, Hounslow Friends of Faith, continues to share and commit to the same aims.

The Act of Commitment

In a world scarred by the evils of war,
racism, injustice and poverty,
we offer this joint Act of Commitment as we
look to our shared future.

We commit ourselves,
as people of many faiths,
to work together
for the common good,
uniting to build a better society,
grounded in values and ideals we share:

community,
personal integrity,
a sense of right and wrong,
learning, wisdom and love of truth,
care and compassion,
justice and peace,
respect for one another,
for the earth and its creatures.

We commit ourselves,
in a spirit of friendship and co-operation,
to work together
alongside all who share our values and ideals,
to help bring about a better world
now and for generations to come.

An important message on funerals

Father Luke Miller, Anglican Archdeacon of London, Chair of the Faith Cell of the London Resilience Strategic Coordination Group writes:

When a loved one dies it is very important to know that they are being treated with dignity and respect. All those involved in the death management process are aware of this and, in particular,  of the need in some faiths for funerals to take place as soon as possible after death. Others would prefer to wait longer for a burial or cremation than is currently feasible.

However, it is important to know that there are currently significant pressures beyond anyone’s control which may cause delays and difficulties. Automatic referrals to the Coroner, which occur when a loved one has not seen a doctor in the 28 days before their death, are a significant factor which can cause delay for those who have died in the community. In addition, there are sadly many more burials and cremations taking place than usual and many staff are off sick.

Please be assured that the needs of families are at the centre of a great deal of work that is going on to address these issues but it is inevitable that challenges will remain. Please do share this message with your own communities to raise awareness of these issues and encourage families to work with your faith Funeral Directors to help move things forward at this very difficult time.

Isis Terrorist Attack on Sikh Worshippers in Kabul, Afghanistan on Wednesday 25th March 2020

In these challenging times for us all it is shocking to hear of this terrorist
attack on innocent Sikh worshippers and mourners and although we
cannot physically gather together to show support and solidarity let us
hold our Sikh brothers and sisters in our thoughts and prayers.

Words taken from a Press Release | March 26, 2020  
The American Sikh Council (ASC) is extremely distraught by the terrorist
attack on the only Gurdwara Guru Har Rai located in Shor Bazaar, Kabul,Afghanistan, yesterday. According to reports several attackers stormed
the gurdwara premises at about 7am and killed at least twenty-five (25)
innocent Sikhs who had gathered for prayer services. Eight (8) more have been seriously injured and have been sent to ER at the local hospital. ISIShas claimed responsibility for the savage attack. Kabul is home to the
few hundred remaining Sikhs in Afghanistan and Sikh-Afghans currently face a very difficult predicament and most have been forced to flee to
other countries starting in the early 90s. The remaining Sikhs are very
vulnerable and do not have the resources or ability to relocate to other
countries. With no other options, international resettlement has become
the only feasible solution for Sikh-Afghan asylum seekers as they are
persecuted because of their distinct and independent faith. While the
entire Sikh-Afghan community were still mourning, another bomb blast was set off today at the funeral of the 25 Sikhs at the crematorium. The
youngest victim was a six (6) year old child. The American Sikh Council (ASC) and all other Sikh organisations in the US request the State department to assist the Afghan authorities to offer meaningful protection to
Sikh-Afghans, meanwhile the US State department seriously consider
giving them asylum urgently, because based on the past history it is
highly likely the rest of them could be killed soon. Without immediate
assistance, the remaining Sikhs in Afghanistan face a tragic fate.
Although this is a difficult time for America and the entire world as we
combat the Corona virus, we must remember our duty to assist
vulnerable communities facing extermination such as Sikhs in
Afghanistan. The American Sikh Council calls on the US government to
expedite the processing of their refugee applications and allow the Sikhs
remaining in Afghanistan to be directly sponsored by Americans.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION for Faith Leaders concerning care of the deceased

To all faith organisations Kelly O’Neill, the Director of Public Health for Hounslow, is happy to take any questions, and consider and respond to any concerns your organisations may have at this time in regards to health matters, however, can I ask you to feed them into my inbox for collation and passing on joan.conlon@hounslow.gov.uk  As you can imagine her email account is swamped. 

If you click on the link below it will provide what we hope is clear and unambiguous advice.  

The guidance is: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-care-of-the-deceased/guidance-for-care-of-the-deceased-with-suspected-or-confirmed-coronavirus-covid-19#responders

In terms of infection control we are advised that ‘from a PH view and based on the reference in the above document regarding handling the body that that there is a small but real risk of contamination and infection transmission, the body handling and washing should not be done by an individual who is within the defined vulnerable group – an older person and/ or someone with a health condition. 

All persons cleaning and handling a body if this is absolutely necessary should be wearing personal protective equipment of fluid resistant masks, gloves and aprons, and should be strictly adhering to meticulous hand hygiene guidance.

Going forward Kelly has confirmed she is happy to have a discussion with any faith leaders who wants help about interpretation of this guidance.

News of the passing of Dadi Janki


The Brahma Kumaris share the news that Dadi Janki, their much loved
Spiritual Head, passed on from this physical life, at 2am, India time on
Friday 27th March. The soul has flown and is now in God’s lap.
It is a time to pay silent homage to this tireless spiritual server who
has meant so much to so many.  We treasure the wealth of personal
lessons in wisdom and courage she shared through her life. 

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

Kelly.oneill@hounslow.gov.uk

Endorsing Statement by Inter Faith Network UK

Part of a Statement by the Faith Communities Forum of the Inter Faith Network for the UK ~ an organisation to which Hounslow Friends of Faith is affiliated:

Our United Kingdom and its individual nations are home to people of many different faiths and beliefs.

As faith communities, each with our own traditions and beliefs, we affirm strongly the value of harmonious coexistence, of values that are shared and of cooperation for the common good.

We are particularly concerned at this time about prevalence of divisive rhetoric, hate speech and rising hate crime. There are those who are actively seeking to drive a wedge between communities, to divide and to foment prejudice and hatred. 

We stand together in the face of such destructive actions and in support of those affected. We encourage all to join us in working for greater understanding, for cooperation and positive coexistence and, in the words of IFN’s vision, “a society where there is understanding of the diversity and richness of the faith communities in the UK and the contribution that they make; and where we live and work together with mutual respect and shared commitment to the common good.”