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Police join call to avoid busy riverfront due to Covid-19 risk

Categoriesnews Health and care, Arts and parks

Image captionPhoto 1: A recent example of how busy the riverside walk in Hammersmith can get on the weekend with social distancing rules not being followed.

The Met Police joined Hammersmith & Fulham and Hounslow councils in urging local residents to avoid the busy riverfront to help stop the spread of Covid-19.

The stretch of riverfront running from Chiswick Mall to Hammersmith Mall and down to Bishop’s Park in Fulham is extremely busy – especially at weekends.

And the large number of people congregating in these small, congested paths vastly increase the risk of transmitting the virus.

With 1 in 3 infected people displaying no symptoms, Covid-19 is a real threat to the public.

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Image caption: Photo 2: The riverside walk has been segregated with barriers to create a two-way system to help with social distancing

“The new strain of Covid is 70 per cent more contagious than the first. And London is an epicentre of the bigger second wave that is taking our NHS to breaking point,” said Cllr Stephen Cowan, Leader of the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham.

“If people have to go outside for an essential reason, we’re asking them to please wear a mask when near anybody else and to always avoid all busy areas – particularly the riverfront.

“The disease is rapidly spreading throughout London’s population at an exponential rate, and largely, by people who are asymptomatic. The vast majority of people are doing the right thing and being considerate of others and I’m grateful for that.

“The best thing any of us can do to cut the length of the lockdown, protect our NHS, save businesses and jobs, and save lives is stay home.”

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Image caption: Photo 3: CCTV image of the busy riverside walk last weekend (9 January 2021)

While Cllr Steve Curran, Leader of Hounslow Council, said: “With the 49 deaths in Hounslow from Covid-19 in December already exceeded in January, it beggars belief that people are still taking these incredible risks and congregating in areas such as these.

“I am appealing to people, for the sake of those they love and for their own wellbeing, to stay away from this area of the river, and to follow the National Lockdown rules. Stay at Home, Save Lives, Protect the NHS.”

And Matt Twist, Deputy Assistant Commissioner from the Met Police, said: “Our health service colleagues are fighting this virus every day on the frontline – but the case rate continues to increase, and the number of people affected in London is alarming. Now more than ever is the moment for people to stick to the rules and stay at home.”

Cyclists and joggers

Our Covid marshals are patrolling the riverfront in Hammersmith & Fulham and will continue to ask joggers and cyclists to use alternative routes for their daily exercise between the hours of 10am and 3pm. This weekend, markings will be laid to help maintain distancing along this stretch.

We’re also asking residents to take their daily exercise with caution and stay local at one of our 60 parks and open spaces. For more details about your local park or open space, visit: www.lbhf.gov.uk/parks.

For more information about COVID-19 in H&F, visit our dedicated pages on our website.