Opening of a garden in honor of London victims of Covid at Olympic Park
a memorial garden in honor of the 19,000 Londoners who died in the pandemic was inaugurated today in the Olympic park.
Mayor Sadiq Khan was joined by religious leaders and key workers as he unveiled a “commemorative living space” of 33 flowering trees, one for each borough.
The ‘London Blossom Garden’ is located to the north of the park, near the Tumbling Bay children’s play area. Mr. Khan also announced a new bereavement support program.
“This new public garden is a living and lasting memorial in recognition of the impact covid has had and continues to have on our city,” said Mr. Khan.
He came as he warned that Londoners “cannot be complacent” about the dangers of covid amid the “worrying” increase in cases of the Indian strain, with surge tests underway in five boroughs of the l West London.
A total of 650 cases of the variant had been detected in London as of May 18, including 148 in people who had been abroad.
Research published by Public Health England over the weekend found that a single Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccine offers only 33% protection against symptomatic illnesses of the Indian strain – underscoring the importance of receiving both vaccines.
London lags far behind the country, with just 27% of adults having received two doses, compared to 43% in the UK.
Among London’s five boroughs, Brent has the lowest proportion of residents who have had two strokes (25.5 percent). Ealing is on 26.1 percent, Hounslow on 29 percent, Hillingdon 32.8 percent and Harrow on 39 percent.
Mr Khan, in his monthly report to the London Assembly, said “the future looks bright” with around 6.4 million first and second doses administered in the capital. There has been no noticeable impact on hospitalizations in London due to the Indian strain.
But he added: “We cannot be complacent with the virus or with new variants. There are a small but growing number of cases of variant B.1.617.2 originating in India.
“Vigilance is important… and it is imperative for our health, our community and our economy that we get tested when asked to do so. Another vital step is the vaccination rollout – when it is your turn to get vaccinated. “
The Memorial Garden is the first and the flagship site in a series of National Trust flower plantations in cities across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Professor Russell Viner, a pediatrician and researcher at UCL, told the Today program that schools are not an “amplifier” of the spread of covid. He said it was “fairly unclear” how long social distancing – such as the continuation of class “bubbles” – would be needed, but supported a cautious approach.