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Coronavirus advice for Homeless People

Questions to the Mayor of London – answered on 19th March 2020.

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Photo of Leonie Cooper Leonie Cooper Labour

Advice for the coronavirus suggests people with a confirmed diagnosis, symptoms, or contact with people with the virus or symptoms, should self-isolate indoors to reduce the risk of spreading the infection. What advice is available for homeless Londoners who are unlikely to be able to follow this advice?

Photo of Sadiq Khan Sadiq Khan Mayor of London

This is a very fast moving emergency situation, so please note that this response was based on the developments and advice given at the time.

I recognise that homeless Londoners on the streets, or in assessment centres or communal shelters, will find it extremely difficult to follow national advice on self-isolation. In addition, there are considerations for those in hostels with shared facilities and those accessing day centres for essential support.

Last Friday, ahead of the publication of long-awaited Public Health England (PHE) guidance on COVID-19 and rough sleeping, this issue was the main focus of discussion with boroughs and the voluntary sector at my Life of the Streets Taskforce meeting.

Given the woeful inadequacy of this guidance, which has since been published, and the extreme urgency of the situation, I am now working with partners to swiftly develop the strategy and co-ordinate the action needed to support this highly vulnerable group in the capital.