Kingston Council (RBK) announced details of their evolving response to the coronavirus pandemic yesterday (March 25).

New Council Leader Caroline Kerr, who replaced former leader Councillor Liz Green Tuesday, described the latest measures the council is taking and warned residents that "the worst is yet to come".

Meanwhile, RBK offered a list of interventions it had launched in response to the escalation of Covid-19 coronavirus in the borough.

Coordinating volunteer groups, closing non-essential services and amplifying an emergency food appeal were among the steps detailed by RBK as steps it has taken as of Wednesday.

In one of her first official pronouncements since assuming the leadership, Cllr Kerr said:

"We all know that these are frightening times, the new rules to slow down the spread of the virus affect everyone - every household, every family and every business in the borough.

"The centre of Kingston this afternoon was as quiet as I can ever remember and that’s a tribute to our residents who are following the Government's instructions.

"We at the council also have a role to play. We have been reducing our services to concentrate on those that are absolutely essential and also to support our wonderful NHS colleagues."

Cllr Kerr described the volunteering platform set up by RBK and her predecessor — Kingston Stronger Together — that is "actively recruiting" volunteers for a number of existing groups, with numbers short as many are forced to isolate.

She also told Kingstonians to prepare for a worsening situation with more people expected to contract the virus.

"We know that the worst is yet to come. As the new leader of the council I am committed to making sure that we are preparing for the challenge ahead.

"In the meanwhile, all any of us can do is follow the Government’s instructions.

"It isn’t easy, but stay home because it will save lives."

So far, 600 people have signed up to volunteer in Kingston in response to the virus, RBK said.

Publishing an email address that lets residents donate food to the needy, RBK revealed that up to 30,000 residents in the borough could be in need of food provision as long as the virus and measures to contain it remain.

Perishable and frozen goods, rice, pasta, potatoes, long life milk and tinned food are all most useful for donating for the appeal.

Parking charges for essential workers like NHS staff at Kingston Hospital will be covered by the council for the duration of the crisis, RBK said.

A parking permit, available via the council website, has been created for essential workers for this purpose.

Further details of the council's response, including which services have been cancelled and which continue to run, can be found on the special coronavirus section of the RBK website: