Recorder letters: Covid testing centre, and opposing views on the virus

PUBLISHED: 10:00 27 September 2020

A walk-through testing centre. Picture: Andrew Milligan/ PA Wire/PA Images

A walk-through testing centre. Picture: Andrew Milligan/ PA Wire/PA Images

PA Wire/PA Images

Letters sent in from Recorder readers this week.

Wrong location for testing centre

Cllr Graham Williamson, Independent Residents Group, South Hornchurch, writes:

Further to your article ‘Long queues and not enough capacity at new test centre’ (Recorder, September 18) the choice of the Cherry Tree car park to place a government Covid testing centre has provoked a very negative reaction from local residents.

While all of us will welcome more and greater testing facilities nationally and locally (now three in Havering) there is a growing concern that this particular location was made in haste and was a mistaken choice.

These are concerns that potentially infected citizens going to the site, whether by appointment or chance, may well pass that infection into the surrounding shops.

Quite a few locals are now saying they will boycott them just in case. This is badly hurting local shops who are advising me that turnover has drastically fallen.

Also by removing the car parking facility in Cherry Tree, businesses are worried that there is nowhere for their customers to park, especially those visiting restaurants.

The nearby library parking is very limited and for anyone outside the immediate area will be unknown.

Potential customers will either come into conflict with local residents by parking in front of their properties or simply drive on. All in all the future looks bleak for local businesses.

Furthermore, it is disappointing that the location was not consulted with councillors, let alone residents, and we were only advised on a Friday afternoon when ‘construction’ had already begun.

I have been trying to ascertain who chose the location but no one is putting their hands up. We suspect it was Havering Council but, whoever made the choice, they did not think it through.

There are/were plenty of alternatives in the area eg the country park car site opposite Travis Perkins (a few minutes away and nowhere near shops), Bretons, or Harrow Lodge Park etc. I just hope we still have our local shops in Cherry Tree by the time this centre is no longer required!

People’s safety is why I do this job

Andrew Rosindell, MP for Romford, writes:

Labour’s attempt to smear me and the government over the Fire Safety Bill vote is the worst kind of politics.

Using the pages of the Recorder the MP for Dagenham and Rainham and the Romford CLP’s Labour press officer, seem to be questioning my integrity with baseless accusations that I, or my Conservative colleagues, don’t have the safety of our constituents as our number one priority.

As the MP for Kensington, where Grenfell is situated, said, the amendments Labour brought to the House risked cutting across current consultations, potentially opening up avenues for legal challenge.

It also would not have sped up the process because these amendments would have required further regulations after the Bill becomes law.

Rather than working with the government, which has said repeatedly that fire safety is an absolute priority, Labour is trying to turn this into a political wedge issue.

Aware of how complex the procedures and processes are, they have tried to muddy the waters to present a totally false impression.

It’s a shameful way to behave and once again demonstrates how right the decent, hard wording, law abiding, patriotic working class ex-Labour voters were to turn away from this type of nasty politics.

My constituents know that their safety and well-being is why I do this job.

Have the guts to identify yourself

Terence F Matthews LL B (Hons), Clement Way, Upminster, writes:

I was disturbed to see two letters in the Recorder (September 18, 2020 ) that were shown as anonymous.

These people have the nerve to attack others but do not have the guts to identify themselves. It is all very well showing that the editorial team know who they are but surely no such letters should be printed.

I am no fan of Andrew Rosindell’s politics but those attacking him need to identify themselves.

You may also want to watch:

As for the government passing legislation to protect the internal market of the UK. It’s about time somebody did. All parts of the UK should be protected from the bully boys and girls of the EU.

We are not trying to scaremonger

Cllr Damian White, leader, Havering Council, writes:

I am writing to in response to Councillor Durant’s misguided and frankly, dangerous views. It makes me wonder where he has been the last six months.

Let’s set out the facts. So far, at time of writing, in the UK, 41,705 people have died from this dreadful disease over 380,000 have been infected. Worldwide - we are looking at nearly a million dead.

The facts show us that after a drop in the UK, infection figures are starting to rise again.

In Havering we have seen a jump from a low base to 81 infections. This is rising every week.

This rise is particularly seen in working age adults. However, this is now starting to impact the older age groups – these being the most vulnerable – and potentially being adversely affected. It is quite clear that Cllr Durant wishes to ignore these stark facts.

The recent rise in conspiracy theories and false facts is a danger to us all. None of us enjoyed lockdown, and we need to do everything we can to prevent another one. Ignoring the truth is not the way we do this. Following the rules to prevent the spread is.

Let me be clear, we are not crying wolf or trying to scaremonger.

We are at a key moment in our recovery from Covid-19 in Havering. We all need to do our bit to stop the spread of this dreadful virus and keep our borough out of lockdown.

It is high time Cllr Durant took his duties and responsibilities to our residents more seriously, and did his bit!

Beware the false positives in tests

Cllr David Durant, Rainham and Wennington Independent Residents Group, writes:

The council leader has warned the latest rise in weekly ‘cases’ to 81 for the entire borough (4.5 daily ‘cases’ per 100,000 people) puts us in a lockdown danger zone!

However, when testing there is something called the False Positive Rate (FPR), which is estimated to be about 1 per cent of those being tested.

This means it’s vital to know how many tests were carried out as it tells us how many of the 81 are false positives. And it’s important to know where the tests took place as there will be more ‘cases’ in hospitals than in the general population.

The numbers will vary depending on the FPR and the equipment used and those/groups tested, but it’s reasonable to conclude the actual positive ‘cases’ in Havering are much lower than 81 due to the very low hospitalisation and mortality figures.

According to the council’s own figures there have only been three Covid-related deaths in the last 12 weeks (week ending August 28).

This makes the council leader’s decision to cancel at very short notice We Are 500 due to “a serious and imminent threat to public health” an extreme over-reaction to the figures and perhaps preparation for another destructive lockdown in October, which he has been warning about for some time!

Alternative views are to be valued

Mr W Ramsay, Stephen Avenue, Rainham, writes:

Cllr Durant regularly expresses puzzlement about the government reaction to the Covid virus.

The councillor’s contributions are to be valued, as I have said before, as it is undesirable to have only one point of view on matters, but I would add in particular his pointing out considerations contradicting the prevailing view that are liable to escape notice because of its very prevalence.

The old fable of the emperor’s new clothes may have more contemporary relevance than might be supposed.

As to the central question of whether the response is disproportionate or an over-reaction, that is a matter of judgement and decision, specifically as regards what considerations take precedence.

In this regard, a new constitutional principle seems to have come to the fore in the present crisis that the state must act to prevent any deaths within its power, as it can do by controlling behaviour. But there has been an earlier manifestation in the case of smoking, to which a recent editorial alluded.

It is a principle, however, that quickly throws up its own contradictions, showing it could not be given unlimited scope.

The stock answer is that we have elected representatives to decide such matters. My answer is that the people themselves should decide, but of course on the basis that they are not exposed to only one point of view.

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Romford Recorder. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Romford Recorder