Borough residents who are at the highest risk of severe illness from coronavirus or are extremely vulnerable can now call Tower Hamlets council on 020 7364 3030 for support during the current crisis.

This number is for Tower Hamlets residents, their families or their carers to let the council know if they have any urgent requirements – not for a general chat about the weather.

The phone line will be open Monday – Friday (8am – 8pm), Saturday (10am – 5pm) and Sunday (10am – 4pm).

Remember the phone line is only for those with the highest risk of illness or who are extremely vulnerable.

For less urgent needs the Council is also providing support online through its COVID-19 self-isolation support page.

Coronavirus Public Information Film

Direct contact with high risk residents

The NHS is now directly contacting all Tower Hamlets residents that have been identified as being at highest risk of severe illness from coronavirus.

If you are at high risk you will be contacted by the NHS by Sunday 29 March 2020. Please do not contact your GP or healthcare team yet – wait to be contacted.

Full details of the latest support for residents can be found here.

Coronavirus WhatsApp Number 07860 064422

During the week the government launched a Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp.

To use the free GOV.UK Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp add 07860 064422 to your phone contacts and then send the word ‘hi’ in a WhatsApp message to get started.

Email and text message scams

Seems some scumbags are using websites, emails and text messages to try and fool people into giving them their bank details.

These scum have so far claimed to be from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) making false offers of financial support or claiming they can support parents with free school meals.

The police are urging people to not give out private information (such as bank details or passwords) under any circumstances, reply to text messages, download attachments from websites or click on any links in emails unless you are absolutely sure they are genuine. In other words from someone you know.

Hopefully these thugs will be hunted down and caught and, to save valuable resources, hung from a gibbet down at Execution Dock on Wapping foreshore for three tides.

Just an idea.

Register Office

The Tower Hamlets Register Office is only able to accept death registrations and is an appointment only service.

If you need to make an appointment to register a death email register.office@towerhamlets.gov.uk and they will get back to you as soon as possible.

Canal towpath fun

The canals remain open but the council is now urging that these areas should be limited to help keep people safe.

No idea what this means. You?

If you live near a canal and you use the towpath for your one daily exercise session or for your journey to your essential work you are urged to ‘avoid any stretches with boats moored against the towpath’ and observe social distancing at all times.

Last time our Marine Unit checked most if not all boats on a canal moor against the towpath ‘cos there ain’t anywhere else. And towpaths are not very wide. So it seems pretty impossible to use towpaths and be compliant with official advice.

Victoria Park closure

Anecdotal evidence suggests that since Victoria Park was closed the towpath along the canal has become much busier leading to problems with social distancing.

Who would have thunk it? Closing a huge park next to a canal and people then walk along the canal. Amazing.

But seriously folks this shows the practical issues faced by the authorities in trying to manage the whole social distancing thing.

You can find out more at the Canal & River Trust – Coronavirus advice page.

Help others and be nice

Few people need any encouragement to help others and be nice. Small acts of kindness from strangers mean a lot and ease the friction that builds up because of this horrible virus.

It is absolutely essential that we all check our neighbours. There are many elderly people who are isolated and alone in Tower Hamlets and they are frightened.

A simple act can make a big difference

All you need to do is knock on their door, stand well back with a nice smile on your face and a cheery “Hello! I live next door, are you OK?” on your lips and the world will be a better place for one more person.

Have a chat, ask them if there is anything they need and give them your phone number. Just that makes a huge difference.

Needless to say you should be very careful to adhere to social distancing guidelines when chatting to elderly people as they are at greater risk. But allowing people who have worked hard all their lives to spend their days alone and frightened is not an option.

I know at least one Wapping resident was frustrated in his very commendable attempts to reach out to others in his block, but that should not stop others from trying.


Coronavirus newsletter

Please sign up to the Tower Hamlets health and wellbeing coronavirus newsletter here.

Useful coronavirus information sources