coronavirus Local News

Andover helps as over-70s may be isolated for ‘a very long time’

Andover Corona Virus Covid-19 Self Isolation

More than thirty people have signed-up to the Andover Self Isolation Group, created to help deliver supplies to those most at risk in the Test Valley.

“Nine people have signed up today”, says Group co-organiser Victoria Harber whose community pub is acting as a sign-up and drop-off point.

As more people test positive for coronavirus, it’s brought the total number of deaths to 35, this newly created local group is seeing a welcome influx of volunteers to help the town’s most vulnerable.

Today it was suggested by Health Secretary Matt Hancock that “every Briton over the age of 70” may be told to stay at home for “a very long time”

In contrast of the 40,200 people have been tested for Corvid-19, only 1,372 tested positive (0.3% of those tested).

The Andover Self-Isolation Group is in the process of recruiting volunteers who will, in turn, help those most at risk with tasks such as picking up prescriptions and collect groceries.

Because of ‘panic buying’, it has been announced that items from Aldi, Tesco and Sainsbury’s will be rationed. In the case of Aldi on Weyhill Road, nobody may buy more than four of the same product.

Tesco now say that items like pasta, milk and anti-bacterial wipes have a ‘five item maximum’.

“Things are going to get worse” adds the landlady of the Queen Charlotte Inn on London Road who is also a borough councillor.  ”We are working together to make sure that those who cannot stockpile items are able to get essential items.

“There has to be a central point where people can turn up and offer their services.  Everyone will be put through our stringent safeguarding measures”.

The pub acts as a storage area for items that have been donated. The growing volunteer team itself needs items such as gloves and cleaning products.

“We thank people like Lisa from Andover who gave us boxes of rubber gloves, but we are also facilitating the distribution of items which we will deliver to those most at risk.

“Our service is exclusively for those who have been told to self-isolate by medical professionals.

“As a pub that serves food, we are used to hygiene, protecting ourselves and our customers”, adds the pub landlady. This is par for the course for us. 

“It makes sense for a community pub to support a community initiative.”

The group was set-up by local lady Tori Rist who confirms people should only take official advice, not read and react to comments on social media.

A qualified nurse and counsellor today signed up for the initiative at the Queen Charlotte and said, “I want to help.  Whereas I might only be able to provide help over the phone or on Skype, I will make myself available if anyone needs to talk.”

People are being asked to visit the Queen Charlotte Inn if they want to volunteer.  Part of the induction process is that they will need to provide identification documents. 

Victoria Harber adds, “If you have excess stuff that might be of use to us, or for the benefit of those in isolation, we will be gratefully receive these at the Queen Charlotte.”

Tomorrow evening on local radio station 95.9FM Andover Radio, the leader of Test Valley Borough Council Cllr Phil North will explain the chancellor’s plans to offer small businesses in Andover assistance. A £3,000 cash grant to help companies through difficult trading times because of Covid-19 was announced by Rishi Sunak in last week’s budget.

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