The twin crises

The government have many difficult decisions to make. They are mainly seeking to manage the virus. The science tells them it does not have medicines  to prevent the virus nor to treat it. Understandably with a new virus there are many limits on what scientists can tell us about it.  The science Ministers draw on is epidemiology. It comprises a series of guesses or forecasts of how the infection may spread around the population, and  how many people may die as a result of it. They  usually die  by  compounding other health problems.

These graphs rest on the figures from China, Italy and elsewhere where it is a bit more advanced than here. None of the figures can be that reliable. No country has been able to test enough people to know how many at one time in a country actually have the virus. There is an element of chance as to whether a death is ascribed to the virus because the person was tested, or ascribed to the other health conditions because they were not. There is  still a lack of clarity over whether you can catch it twice.

The epidemiologists agree that if a country cuts the rate of increase and the total number of cases by enforcing segregation of people, the virus may spread again once the restrictive measures are removed. They also think people will become better able to fend it off after they have had it once, so as more people have experienced it so there are fewer hosts in the population for a new virus attack.

At the same time the government  has to manage the economic crisis which the heavily restrictive measures to deal with the virus creates. As an economic commentator I can give the government a much clearer view of the economic damage the measures will inflict, and can explain how their economic response needs to be much bigger  given the extent of the damage.

The short term hit to the economy is going to be a much bigger decline in output and incomes than is normal in the first quarter of a nasty recession like 2008-9. More than a fifth of the economy will face little or no custom as hotels, bars, restaurants, pubs, clubs, leisure and pleasure events close down. There will not be many discretionary purchases either, as people put on hold any plans for new cars, new homes, or larger household items. High Streets will be largely deserted or locked down.

If the state does not come up with ways to sustain employment many people will lose their jobs. Many businesses will go onto care and maintenance or will go into wind up, bereft of revenue and purpose.

The epidemiologists cannot give us a date by which the controls can be removed and the all clear sounded. The thought that this may drag on for many months, with some seeming to say we can only relax the controls when people have been successfully vaccinated with a vaccine still to be developed and approved, will ensure many more people lose their jobs and their businesses.

Government needs to weigh very carefully the balance between the health crisis and the economic crisis. Measures that damage the economy are only worth taking where there is considerable certainty they will save a material number of lives. The case for a major cash injection to offset the damage to companies and people is overwhelming if the close down has to endure more than a couple of weeks.

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  1. Lifelogic
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 5:38 am | Permalink

    The daily increase in the UK death rate has slowed slightly, but it is still running at about a 53% day. Suggesting about 10,000 deaths in ten days time. Perhaps 100,000 needing ventilation with the NHS having the capacity for less than 10% of this. So why on earth did the UK make all the same errors as Italy in failing to clamp down earlier so that the NHS will be overwhelmed. It was very obvious this would happen given what had happened in Italy. Yet even today the children are still mingling at school. The government and government experts have under reacted massively and many thousands will surely die as a direct result.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      Yes, your figures imply an adjustment to the otherwise generally good sense of what John says.

      It is, that measures must be taken, where it appears that NOT to take them would involve a significant risk of increasing fatalities.

      Failure to observe that principle would mean that in due course there would inevitably be a reckoning to be made.

      It is worth noting that the mortality rate that you project for ten days time would be three times the total for China – where the epidemic has been suppressed – yet in a population of only about six percent of theirs.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 11:08 am | Permalink

        Well we shall see, I do not really believe the China figures. Also it is a very large place and some areas of it are not yet affected very much at all so in effect separate countries. I very much hope something is discovered to reduce the death rate and we can fettle some new ventilators together. But we still have the vast majority of people vulnerable to infection and the NHS clearly has a severe lack of capacity.

        • Hope
          Posted March 20, 2020 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

          Chloroquine, used for malaria is doing the rounds. But not much money it for pharmaceuticals.

          Difficult to u detstand why testing was not at the forefront of govt strategy until the last few days. Appears successful in South Korea and Germany.

          • Hope
            Posted March 20, 2020 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

            Good to read Gtech vacuum cleaners producing a ventilator with existing materials in such a short time at govt request. Fingers crossed, but optimistic story to help those in need in such a short time. Wish them well and hope it can be mass produced to help those suffering. Might be good business in the long run.

      • Caterpillar
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 12:36 pm | Permalink


        The Chinese Communist Party is currently writing a narrative to portray to the world that it rapidly and successfully intervened to prevent an epidemic and that the rest of the world should learn from it. Extreme caution is too little when accepting this, or indeed any, Chinese Communist Party narrative.

        Local party denial.
        Local persecution of Chinese medical staff trying to warn China and the world.
        Top of the party denial of human-human transmission even after it had been confirmed and virus had spread outside of China.

        We must not judge the people or the country by the party, but it is the party that is writing the narrative and the likelihood of its narrative being true is zero.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 21, 2020 at 8:07 am | Permalink


          What they said about SARS was 100% accurate.

          You may be right, but you do not even begin prove your case.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 8:28 am | Permalink

      Instead of looking at Italy and China and comparing ourselves why don’t we look at the low mortality rates in Germany and ask what they are doing.

      They have a huge number of cases but few fatalities, are there many patients in their ICUs or are they managing to treat before hospitalisation is required?

      There is something to learn here as they seem to have a less fatal infection than elsewhere.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 11:10 am | Permalink

        Indeed why is this they are testing more people than the UK I think but is there anything else that can be learned?

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

        Yes, there are things that we need to know, but data gathering in the midst of a crisis is not easy when staff are overwhelmed with their prime responsibilities.

        Some commenters here have advanced sensible possible explanations however, such as:

        It may be, that where people with severe underlying conditions have died, it is this which is recorded as the cause of death and not coronavirus – unknown.

        Germany has more ICU capacity than other countries, and more staff – generally unknown, but researchable.

        The genetic makeup of the population may be favourable – unknown.

        There is a different culture of striving to save the lives of the elderly in Germany – generally unknown.

        They have a far more effective management strategy for pneumonias per se – researchable.

        The strain causing infection in Germany might be milder – generally unknown but researchable.

        Vulnerable groups in Germany are already better protected from infection by hygiene measures in e.g. care homes, with better regulation and training for staff so are not becoming infected in the first place – researchable.

        There are others.

      • Caterpillar
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 12:51 pm | Permalink


        As Sir John has alluded, there is a question of how deaths are being recorded, and some Italian politicians have wondered about this for Germany. Apparently UK and Italy do covid-19 tests post mortem, which Germany does not do. Also, I have heard it gossiped, that Germany does not always commit to recording a cause of death unless it is absolutely clear – this is gossip I don’t know if anyone that contributes to Sir John’s blog has knowledge of this and can clarify.

        Whilst we can all see the difference in the vulnerability effect by comparing Italy’s case fatality rate to South Korea’s, more public clarity from Germany would be interesting and potentially informative. Nonetheless I think England’s CMO’s general point about minimising total additional deaths including indirect is valid. (I guess we will see how many standard deviations above average each county is in a year’s time in which the exact recorded cause will be less relevant).

      • Know-Dice
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

        It’s probably that the figures for those infected in Germany are much more accurate because they are testing many more than in the UK. If you don’t know how many are infected then mortality rates are fantasy.

        If you say the real figure for the UK is 20 to 30 thousand then the death rate is similar to Germany

        Rubbish in rubbish out

      • Mark
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

        They have less reported fatal infection. A large part of that appears to be due to reporting other underlying conditions as a cause of death rather than the virus, and because they have tested more people with mild symptons. If it were due to some magical treatment regime the rumours would be all over the internet.

      • Mark
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

        German fatalities rose sharply today to 24 and a total of 68. They may not have any magic solutions yet.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 10:08 am | Permalink

      It is worth remembering the common law principle of recklessness, which forms part of many criminal laws.

      E.g. criminal damage is the causing of damage intentionally or *recklessly”.

      There is plenty of case law as to what constitutes recklessness, but where virtually the entire national and international scientific community have been urging a course of action, and warning of the consequences of failing to implement that, it’s hard to see how such inaction would fail that test.

      It is on a similar basis that the Precautionary Principle rests.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 11:07 am | Permalink

        So not content with wanting Stalinist show trials for people who dared to vote to Leave the EU Martin, you now want similar action for anyone who in your opinion doesn’t act the way you think is correct over the current epidemic.
        Presumably if old Mr Corbyn had taken the same actions you would be on here saying what a fine job he was doing.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 20, 2020 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

          No, I just want those who are charged with making decisions to make those which will save the most lives, and to understand the importance of that.

          It is not what I think that will count, but the statistics of mortality in this country compared with in those which followed WHO advice more diligently.

          Your out-of-thin-air assertions as to what I want generally are laughable.

          Retrospective law is the hallmark of fascism, and this country generally has a proud tradition of being appalled by it.

          However, where there is evidence that an offence has been committed under present law, I think that the perpetrators should be brought to justice.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 21, 2020 at 9:22 am | Permalink

            There isn’t a charge of making a wrong decision based on the genius of hindsight.
            If there is let us know.

      • Fred H
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

        you should ask to join the Supreme Court, being so well barrack-room qualified.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 20, 2020 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

          iIs that meant to be funny ?

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 21, 2020 at 10:52 am | Permalink

            Yes, it’s a hoot, isn’t it, Edward?

          • Edward2
            Posted March 21, 2020 at 11:11 am | Permalink

            Apologies Fred I realise your post was actually aimed at our non stop poster Martin.

    • Hope
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      I think this is a good insight what the economy will be like with zero carbon crap promoted by the govt. I hope it will now reverse any thought of it.

      I agree with Javelin and Mark B. The elderly and vulnerable should be isolated the rest carry on working.

      Johnson has caved to each uninformed media demand. He does not like to make unpopular decisions. He lacks a cogent direction. First ship passengers quarantined in Liverpool. Two weeks ago he let in thousands from virus hotspots without testing or quarantine. Now wants to lock us all up!

      Glad to read in Con a Woman “the haziness in thought” of the four in charge of the NHS when questioned by Hunt. They were appalling. The sort LL and Dominic write about. It was clear for everyone to see how these people earn a fortune but do not have a clue in leadership, strategic thinking or decision making.

      The economy should not be savaged it will cause far worse problems in the short and long term. People on extravagant benefits are fine they carry on as normal. Those doing the right thing, self employed, low paid, prudent, strivers and savers will also be savaged. Johnson and your Socialist Tory party jumping left. My fear is temporary measures made permanent.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 11:14 am | Permalink

        Governments are far better at pontificating & ‘dealing’ with imaginary problems that won’t hit us in many year time than dealing with real ones that will hit us very hard – hear and now.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 20, 2020 at 3:07 pm | Permalink


    • glen cullen
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 11:17 am | Permalink

      But you cant use Italy as a baseline norm for modelling as their Flu-Like-Illness deaths in recent years has been far higher than anywhere else

      Read the study paper which was linked on yesterdays blog

      • forthurst
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

        You’ve posted this before but with seasonal flu in Italy there is a maximal excess annual mortality rate of 41.2 per 100,000 whereas the published current mortality rate for COVID-19 is 6.8% which is 6800 per 100,000. This epidemic is far more serious than seasonal flu. That is why the government should be studying how China and South Korea have got a grip on their epidemics. It may not be possible to achieve their success as easily because they are monocultures and people there may tend to live where they work.

        • ed2
          Posted March 21, 2020 at 1:51 am | Permalink

          That is why the government should be studying how China and South Korea have got a grip on their epidemics.

          You are falling into the trap.

    • APL
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      Lifelogic: “So why on earth did the UK make all the same errors as Italy in failing to clamp down earlier so that the NHS will be overwhelmed. ”

      It was too late at that point. Covid-19 has been in the UK since December at the latest, and the Chinese government knew they had a problem and did restrict their own nationals nor advise any outside government to restrict travel.

      The policy of isolation, will not work. If people without the virus isolate, when they come out of isolation in two weeks, they will be exposed to the virus then, and with no immunity will catch it.

      From what I understand about 83% of those people who contract Covid-19 don’t even know they have it, or think they’ve got the flu.

      The optimum policy would be to isolate the ‘vulnerable’ groups and let everyone else go about their business normally. Eventually introducing immunity through the fact that you’ve had it and survived.

      At that point the virus dies out.

      Shutting down the economy, is insane, and in the long term will lead to depression. In fact we’ve got an imminent depression now.

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      Why didn’t we do anything ?

      Because the Boris Govt is at war with The Blob and because we were still in thrall to political correctness and open borders and cowed by the notion that any kind discriminatory protective measure was “RAAACIST !”.

      • Hope
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

        Dopey arrogant Sadiq Khan banging on about Trump calling it Chinese flu. German measles, Spanish Flu, but somehow we are not allowed to name the virus where it came from otherwise it is now racist according to him. Khan is an idiot and graphically illustrates an unnecessary level of uselessness as Mayor that the public did not want, voted against and still had it imposed on them! Same as the useless but expensive police commissioners- police costing me 4.6 percent rise for some reason. Is this cost from Johnson to increase numbers that May took away? She said there no was correlation between crime figures and police numbers! She was responsible for institutional failings in Zhongshan Office, loss of mass illegal immigrants and historic mass immigration numbers while lying to the public to cut to tens of thousands to get elected. Now the NHS is overwhelmed and people dying and economy collapsing by her policies and lies will action be taken against her?

    • Richard
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

      Re the Italian statistics, the Italian Institute of Health, ISS reports: eg
      – only 0.8% of the deceased had no pre-existing chronic illnesses
      – 90% of the deceased was over 70 years old
      So “It’s entirely possible that dozens, even hundreds, of deaths in Italy (and perhaps the rest of the world) are being mistakenly attributed to Covid19 rather than the heart disease, cancer, emphysema or whichever comorbidity actually caused the death.”
      Plus an the epidemiological study done by a Japanese research group that found the case-fatality ratio to potentially be as low as 0.04% (markedly lower even than seasonal flu).
      (links to sources)

      Dr. Wolfgang Wodarg, former head of a German Health administration:
      “Assume in previous years, we had tested all critically ill patents for Corona virus, then we would have 2,000 to 3,000 patients in Germany who die of flu and respiratory illness, who would also test positive for Corona virus, every year…
      The corona hype is not based on any extraordinary public health danger. However, it causes considerable damage to our freedom and personal rights through frivolous and unjustified quarantine measures and restrictions. The images in the media are frightening… Evidence based epidemiological assessment is drowning in the mainstream of fear mongers in labs, media and ministries.”

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    I have spoken to the four banks I deal with so far and have had not any help from them at all as yet at all just helpful noises and they are already very well secured and could easily assist with zero risk to them and indeed make a profit. They are slow, expensive and largely useless.

    Most of the government help is slow with details and methods of application, qualification rules still not clear. The approach of the banks is to not reply to calls, to demand endless pointless information from you to try to put you off or refer you long winded waffle on web sites rather than given you a quick decision. If you stop paying mortgages what will happen at credit reference agencies and with future loan applications. You will have to say you have missed payments and then be debarred?

    HSBS personal overdrafts are now at nearly 40% (with one size fits all) this is now 400 times base rates. This had been encourages by the FCA under Andrew Bailey now at the BoE. Is he proud of this lunacy? It the historian totally economically and mathematically illiterate? Why no comment on this.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 7:31 am | Permalink

      Perhaps some emergency lending rate restriction so that no bank or credit card company can charge anyone more that say 7%. This is already 70 times base rate and quite high enough given the current circumstances. Otherwise banks have an incentive to restrict credit and thus force customers to use their very expensive overdrafts and credit cards or to default or shut down.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 8:30 am | Permalink

        If the BOE guarantees the loan then there is no need to price in risk so the banks, who are only creating the money not using working capital, could loan at very reasonable rates akin to those that they are being charged themselves

    • forthurst
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      The FCA under Bailey has also been telling financial institutions to establish their Customers’ identities and ‘sources of wealth’ using a specified format. Some of the questions and proposed details to be provided are so extremely invasive and time consuming to respond to that they are bizarre. Needless to say some compliance depts are making a total meal of this. Money laundering is illegal; if financial institutions have any evidence of a customer who is either using a false name or engaging in money laundering they should inform the police and not have to hassle all their customers including those that had been with them for many years. I believe the Treasury Committee should interrogate Bailey over this: what are your ‘sources of wealth’ for the current valuation of your ISA? Give me a break!

  3. Ian Wilson
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 5:47 am | Permalink

    Do you have any feedback on scientists’/ministers’ views of the prospects of success from existing drugs such as chloroquine? Trials in France sound promising but it’s always dangerous to venture outside one’s own field in science. No doubt it would take a little time for trials analysis and peer review but superficially there seem grounds for hope.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 7:23 am | Permalink

      Well if I was going to die anyway and given that the NHS clearly has only about 10% of the respirators they need then I would probably try almost anything!

      • Hope
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 10:57 am | Permalink

        May responsible for importing about 1 million immigrants and lost illegal immigrants under watch as HS and PM, against govt policy, has overwhelmed the NHS and other public services. We read 20,000 military on stand by to be put to use, that would the 20,000 police officers she got rid of. We heard and read the Windrush report yesterday where there were years of institutional failings, the sort she levelled at police powers, where she was in charge for ten years! Kitkat policy, Brexit etc. When does she get investigated censured or sanctioned? Her actions in office utterly appaling and underhand to say the least. Why is she not kicked out your Tory party because she epitomises everything she described as nasty and some more!

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 20, 2020 at 11:18 am | Permalink

          I too am not fan and tend to feel rather repulsed whenever I see or hear her on TV or radio.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted March 20, 2020 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

            Even more that I do when I see John Major, Hillary Benn, Greg Clarke or Anna Soubry.

          • forthurst
            Posted March 20, 2020 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

            The question is whether we are better of with a PM that sucks up to a malignant minority or one that is part of it?

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 10:56 am | Permalink

        For you to try anything it has to be on offer.

        I am unaware of any experimental therapies of offer for this in the NHS as yet.

    • gregory martin
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      Can we be assured that this Government would be prepared to sponsor competitive development of the pharmacutical substances alluded to, rather than wait and/or insist on fair trade principals respecting intellectual rights etc.?

  4. bill brown
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 5:48 am | Permalink

    Sir JR

    Thank you very good and interesting summary

    • ianterry
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      bill brown


  5. SM
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 5:54 am | Permalink

    I believe it would help considerably if the doom-mongers in the media and on sites such as these learned to bite their tongues.

    I am far from being a Pollyanna when considering life’s problems, but constantly peddling figures of doom based on worst-case computer modelling, praising other countries’ handling of this problem without acknowledging possible differences or shortfalls in their systems, describing possible courses of actions as actuality does damn all to help the situation, but a very great deal to unsettle the public.

    As far as I am aware, as a daily reader of this Diary, none of the contributors here have professional expertise in disease or crisis management, or in actual government (other than our host – please forgive me if I have overlooked a medical doctor or scientist). It appears that a lot of posters get some sick pleasure out of attempting to scare or even terrify readers by comments along the lines of “the UK doesn’t know what it’s doing, everyone else knows better”, “the UK doesn’t know what it’s doing but I could have told them what to do”, “the Prime Minister wants 1000s of people to die” etc etc. Perhaps those of you do this just love the temporary adrenalin rush – but it is people like you who are fuelling panic-buying and scaring the vulnerable.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 7:49 am | Permalink

      Well do you want the truth or do you want me to be PC and tell you lies and want you want to hear?

      I am a mathematician/physicist/engineer by training. You do not need to be an expert just do the simple arithmetic. Plenty of experts are saying exactly the same as I am (Neil Ferguson OBE FMedSci is a British epidemiologist, professor of mathematical biology, who specialises in the epidemiology of infectious disease spread in humans and animals for example).

      We knew what happened in Italy but the government under reacted hugely with the result the the NHS will now be totally unable to cope and many will die for want of proper treatment. We should have delayed the spread of the infection as far as humanly possible many weeks ago to delay and spread to NHS demand and give more time for the NHS to prepare. The government and their experts got “the science” wrong, why? It should have been very clear from experience in Italy.

      • SM
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 8:02 am | Permalink

        I actually don’t want you telling me anything at all, LL. You appear to have an inordinate amount of free time to comment on anything and everything that appears on this blog, usually to say how correct you are and how wrong everyone else is.

        Why don’t you start your own website? I’m sure that with your training and genius-level knowledge, you’ll become a legend in your own lunchtime!

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 8:32 am | Permalink

        They have become accustomed to dealing in the Politics Of Perception, as opposed to the Politics Of Fact.

        That is how Johnson got where he is, and how other recent campaigns have succeeded.

        It appears that he and his team were simply unable to get their minds out of those habits, I think.

        The results have been disastrous, sadly.

      • Andy
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 8:52 am | Permalink

        Lifelogic says something logical – miracles do happen!

        Our schools should have closed a month ago. Businesses shut down a month ago. We are dealing with this too late and too slowly.

        Italy shows us a grim picture of where we will be in one month’s time.

        Temporary morgues. Mass cremations. Carnage in hospitals and care homes.

        Meanwhile we have a government elected by the minority introducing draconian powers. They are all over the place.

        We need a government of national unity – one which represents us all, not just the Tory minority – we need a complete shutdown and we need guarantees for all businesses, all workers, and for both homeowners and renters – all of them.

        The banking crisis did for Labour and it has been out of power now for a decade. As the body bags build up Mr Johnson’s inept response to this crisis will do for the Tories. You should have picked a proper leader and not a buffoon.

        Reply Labour supports the Emergency powers to be taken in Parliament early next week. I and others have argued they must go through unopposed, so need to be negotiated with the Opposition.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 20, 2020 at 11:28 am | Permalink

          I also said it a month ago. I have an Italian wife we knew exactly what was happening.

        • Richard1
          Posted March 20, 2020 at 11:48 am | Permalink

          what is it with you leftists that you cant accept the results of elections?!

          you weren’t complaining when the blair-brown govt had a 60 seat majority with 35% of the vote. and went on to bust the economy and sign all those dumb EU-federalising treaties.

          You lost. Get over it.

          BTW you should read the Imperial College study. it is very clear if you introduce measures too early you increase not decrease the risks. If we want to take lessons form elsewhere it should be from South Korea Hong Kong and Singapore, not Italy (and not just on COVID19…)

          • Edward2
            Posted March 20, 2020 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

            Well said Richard.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted March 20, 2020 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

            “it is very clear if you introduce measures too early you increase not decrease the risks”

            I do not accept this really, not if the measures are done properly. When the NHS is ill equiped it seems absurd not to delay as much a humanly possible so that capacity cannot be improved. Lack of NHS capacity will clearly hugely increase the number of deaths.

            We would have far more time now if we only had say 1% of the current number of infections we would perhaps have perhaps an extra month to get ventilators ready and perhaps to find better ways to treat patients and be closer to a vaccine and various faster tests.

      • IanT
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 8:52 am | Permalink

        As Sir John is pointing out – there are choices to make between the economy and potential loss of life. From your posts, you seem to think it is possible for s government (not this one presumably) to solve both problems – when in fact there will clearly need to be compromises made to protect one or the other. I am very glad I am not having to manage this crisis and I don’t envy those who are.

      • formula57
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 9:07 am | Permalink

        @Lifelogic – the handling of the 1918 pandemic showed truth and full disclosure were essential to retain public trust.

        (Thank you for your further thoughts yesterday following my rejoinder on flattening the curve. I understand and agree.)

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 20, 2020 at 11:31 am | Permalink


      • Pominoz
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 11:05 am | Permalink


        I have, in the past, well understood, and agreed with, many of the views you have posted on this site.

        From a passionate advocate for, or against, so many important issues, I worry that, in respect of the Coronavirus, you may be becoming unduly alarmist – and repetitive.

        The situation is serious, probably more on the economic front than the medical one, in my view. Many people will undoubtedly die, but most, from the evidence so far, will be the old and medically frail. The alarm you convey in your repetitive comments here is unlikely to help.

        You may, of course, be absolutely correct in your predictions, but I really do believe it is time, for your own good at least, to start to look for the silver lining in these clouds of despair.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 20, 2020 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

          Indeed the several silver linings I can see are:

          Only circa 3% of the deaths seem to be people under 60. We might find some more effective treatments, we might be able to rig up more makeshift ventilators very quickly, we might get an vaccine sooner than we though, it might turbo drive vaccine technology and the World would get much better at it. We might get some sensible reform of the NHS, it might shut up the climate alarmists priests and loons, the government might have to cancel HS2 and their idiotic, expensive & unreliable energy agenda for lack of cash.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 21, 2020 at 11:00 am | Permalink

            Well, it seems to have quietened somewhat the endless whingeing here about utterly non-existent burdens of membership of the European Union on people’s lives, doesn’t it?

            Maybe people get it finally, that there simply weren’t any?

            Reply What about todays news trying to block our financial help proposals?

          • Edward2
            Posted March 21, 2020 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

            Well its stopped you droning on about the EU on here.
            Now you have a new Project Fear topic to post 15 times a day.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 8:40 am | Permalink


      I actually think the Government is handling this reasonably well !

      Given we knew nothing about this virus at all a few months ago, they have not panicked, have introduced controls only on a known basis (information from other Countries) to buy a few days at a time to try and work out the best possible and workable solution, whilst trying to keep the economy going a little longer.

      Yes we could have gone into lockdown from day one, which would have meant many would have gone bust by now, and thousands would have been out of work.

      The biggest problem for most seems to be shopping, with freezer sales going through the roof.
      Paint suppliers are being inundated, where people are using their new spare time to decorate their properties.

      Compare Boris and his calm advisers, to the ramblings of Trump or many other leaders, I think he is doing well.

      I hear the Chancellor is making an announcement today about income subsistence, not an easy action to take, control or police.

      Never have I seen a Government take so many fast decisions which have been well explained at the time, other than perhaps when at war.
      This could bode well eventually for the future, with much more efficient government.

      In the meantime we all need to be sensible about social interaction.

      • Alan Jutson
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 8:49 am | Permalink

        Perhaps all those that do nothing but moan would like to give us their solution, based on some evidence that it would work, and what it would cost both in monetary terms and in lives.

        I wonder how many have read the report from imperial college, a link posted on here a few days ago.

        Thanks JR for confirming that at the moment there is no known treatment, no vaccine, and no rapid testing available, hence the reason for sensible social distancing.
        I am sure there will eventually be a solution to those three problems, perhaps days, perhaps weeks, maybe months, but then we will see a big difference, and perhaps a change in focus and action.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 1:26 pm | Permalink



      I agree that those in the media and elsewhere are making things much worse – from Guardian politicisation to red top panic. The UK may have between 2 and 10 million of the most vulnerable (age, BMI, smoking, underlying illnesses), I think about 7 million above 65. So if we take the reported case fatality rates and naively multiply up these things look dire. But I do think reactions are making things worse e.g. we probably all have vulnerable relatives/friends who are struggling to shop for their weekly needs as the shelves are stripped. These are people who often have only a few days of food as buffer, they simply cannot carry the huge amounts that younger, SUV drivers do. The media encourage panic and widespread base nastiness is hurting some of the most vulnerable. Despite the obvious risks, I am also surprised that we cannot design a way for the elderly to restart their once a week breakfast together in Wetherspoons (other brands / meals are available) as their social contact. ‘We’ can redesign and 3D-print ventilator components but cannot redesign social interaction. Somehow we need to get the balance right. (With all the empty classrooms, pubs and restaurants we can’t find space to spread out maths exams).

      I for one am relieved we have the expertise of England’s CMO and the team behind him. As he has made clear anyone can multiply up from known case fatalities to a very dire situation but this is only be a worse case planning guide. Until the reliability of an antibody test to allow the community prevalence to be measured (mild and asymptomatic cases that have recovered) nothing is really known – even the simple homogeneous estimates of R are unreliable.

      So I think following the hygiene and social-distancing advice as much as possible, whilst cocooning and supporting the vulnerable as much as possible is what I am doing.

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      No jobs and no people paying tax then no NHS. That is a fact.

    • Graham Wheatley
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      Just like the Brexit referendum then?

  6. Lifelogic
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    The only help that will be much use to small businesses will be immediate loans direct from government to the businesses and the direct deferral of VAT, PAYE and other taxes. The banks are a useless, too slow and are rip off middleman. Otherwise it will be too little, too late and many sound businesses and jobs will be gone.

    Anyone who works for the state sector will of course be just fine, very well cushioned, their pensions will be just fine and will and remain on full pay. Apart that is from the front line medical staff, several of whom will die for lack of PPE protective equipment. 13 doctors in Italy have died already I understand.

    Why of why did the government accelerate into this wall just like Italy when they had the clear warning as to what would happen. Doubtless the government experts will blame the people for insufficient social distancing failing to slow the growth in patients in a few day time. This rather than their own huge under reaction several weeks back.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 7:24 am | Permalink

      Medics not doctors.

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 7:53 am | Permalink

      To be fair Lifelogic, neither you nor I nor anyone on this blog (left or right) ever said “Aren’t we missing the big picture here ? The coming virus ? We should be gearing ourselves for that – not arguing about green crap.”

      I’m kicking myself – aren’t you ?

      • forthurst
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

        Is anyone on this blog associated with the Department of Health? Were any of us paid full time to study the development of this pandemic elsewhere, the ease of spread, the mortality rates and the actions taken to mitigate and control the epidemics? Whose job was it to ring alarm bells so that the focus could be taken off Brexit and ‘barrel bombs’ to deal with a national emergency? The state of unpreparedness here is shocking and people are being exhorted to behave in a certain way like they are exhorted to recycle their rubbish.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

        Indeed but government prefer to fight imaginary problems many years off that real ones today.

      • a-tracy
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

        Anonymous, I asked on this blog when the first C19 patient was diagnosed in the uk if our GPs, nurses, medics in contact with all patients and elderly in care homes had been instructed to wear masks and gloves. They should have been protected from the off, especially as it was a lot of medical staff returning from half term ski trips that brought the virus back with them!

        This Country has been anti mask I don’t agree with that, I believe all tube and underground users in London should have been asked to wear one during their journeys, especially if they got off a plane from Italy, Iran, France or Spain. John Snow knew enough about it to self isolate for a couple of weeks a few weeks back. Instead people here were encouraged to call people “stupid” if they wore a mask. I wouldn’t have held on to hand rails with my bare hands.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      To answer your last question – ‘Because they would not shut the borders and break the ‘freedom of movement’ imperative.’
      In addition the west actively broke the Chinese Quarantine by ‘bringing our people back’ aka ‘spreading the virus’.
      However your death rate is not accurate, it’s way lower than flu – do the sums, and the situation is useful simply to highlight the incompetence of the various arms of the State – why is the NHS not prepared for a respiratory epidemic? It’s the single thing easily anticipated and they should have plenty of respirators after all the have £170 billion a year! What do they spend this monumental amount on?
      The sheer cost of employing people will also be brought into sharp focus and not 1 second before time, and business rates must obviously be a ‘casualty’ of this epidemic and never return.
      Very likely that the other longed for death will be that of the EU, in which case this epidemic and even the financial agony will be well worth it. The end of phase 3 of the 100 year German War.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      They fell for the fallacy of Inductive Reasoning, perhaps?

      That is, that if a certain approach – the Politics Of Perception – have worked several times in the past, then they will work in the future.

      However, whilst the awkward facts of the consequences say, of leaving the European Union can be blamed upon others, those from the apparent mishandling of this emergency cannot, and will be so tragically obvious as to be impossible to hide or to ignore.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

        What on earth does all that waffle that mean?

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 21, 2020 at 11:02 am | Permalink

          Educate yourself.

          Look up what you don’t understand.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 21, 2020 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

            Try communicating properly and the need wouldn’t arise.

  7. /ikh
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    Hi Sir John,

    I agree with you that there needs to be a balance between how protect peoples health and how much damage we do to the economy.

    However three new studies just published ( including one in Nature ) show that the is an effective treatment for covid-19. It is Chloroquine, a long used drug against Malaria both for treatment and as a prophylactic.

    These studies also show that not only can Chloroquine be used as a treatment but that it also has a prophylactic ( preventative ) effect on covid-19.

    Given that it has a long a safe history of being used in humans, I hope that the Govt an look into approving its use for covid-19. I think Mps should start asking questions.


    • jerry
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      @ikh; Is that not the family of drugs the POTUS was talking about yesterday in his daily press briefing, now he likes to talk-up when ever he can, but he merely said such drugs might work, that their testing is to be fast-tracked.

      “Given that it has a long a safe history of being used in humans”

      The fact that such drugs are already certified safe for use on humans is irrelevant, what needs to be established is how they interact with the Covid-19 virus and any damage the virus has done to the body systems, there has already been advice about certain over-the-counter pain killers that might actually make Covid-19 worse for those suffering symptoms.

      • Stred
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 11:10 am | Permalink

        There is an article in the Mail today about a young fit woman who is in a London hospital being treated for severe lung disease caused by the virus. She made a video as she recovered in order to warn her friends. She says that when she became ill she was prescribed a large dose of Ibuprofen, which the French have advised to avoid as it suppresses the immune system. Tell Hancock JR.

        • forthurst
          Posted March 20, 2020 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

          The advice to take Ibuprofen has been withdrawn. There is a published paper in the Lancet associating medication with ACE Inhibitors with high mortality rates. So far patients have have been told to continue with their medication. This is extremely irresponsible bearing in mind the potential impact on lives and NHS resources.

          • jerry
            Posted March 20, 2020 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

            @forthurst; All the advice I have seen here in the UK with regards Ibuprofen is not to take then if Covid-19 is suspected, those who have them prescribed for other reasons being advised to talk to their Doctor before self-withdrawing them – I don’t see that as being irresponsible if withdrawing Ibuprofen would also potentially impact on lives and NHS resources, a true catch22…

            Reply This site does not have a view on the efficacy and side effects of individual drugs. People should take medical advice.

    • Stred
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      The French are trialling chloroquine and in combination with another drug. Let’s hope the NHS has ordered a lot of it. Have a word with Hancock JR.
      Meanwhile, tonic water has sold out.

      • rose
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

        I read somewhere its export had been barred.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 8:12 am | Permalink

        Why do you assume that the NHS would be willing to trial ANY experimental medication?

    • hefner
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 11:49 am | Permalink November 2003
      ‘Effects of chloroquine on viral infections: An old drug against today’s diseases’
      I took it in my 50s during two two-week-long trips in malaria-infested areas. One tablet every week, starting two week before the trip continuing several weeks after. As indicated/warned by the doctor who prescribed these and in the information sheet accompanying the tablets, there could be/are also side-effects, and it would appear they are more likely the older the person taking that preventative medicine.

  8. Ian Wragg
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    With economic activity low is the ideal time to leave the EU. We can then recover without the dead hand of EU bureaucracy.
    This must not be used as an excuse to delay.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 7:50 am | Permalink


    • ianterry
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 8:03 am | Permalink

      Ian Wragg

      Second that

    • BOF
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      Well said.

    • Iago
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 8:54 am | Permalink

      Agreed. Now is the ideal time to leave. There is no need for the agreement the establishment are concocting.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      Yes, reducing the scope of external markets by about a half would help no end, I’m sure.

      • jerry
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 11:21 am | Permalink

        @MiC; Indeed, remaining in in the EU would lock the UK out of the many external markets…

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 20, 2020 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

          No, most of its current trade with other markets is *through* European Union deals with them. It will have to reknit all of those too.

          There’s no end to this madness.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 20, 2020 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

            No it isn’t.
            Trade with the EU is under 50%
            Overstated by the Rotterdan effect.
            And we have a profitable trade surplus with the rest of the world but a £80 billion deficit in our trade with the EU.
            Trade deals are via WTO rules which novate to us on leaving.
            Loads of trade deals ready to sign as soon as we leave.
            More nonsense from you Martin.

          • jerry
            Posted March 20, 2020 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

            @MiC; “There’s no end to this madness.”

            Indeed there doesn’t seem to be any end to some Europhiles madness, the way some rant on anyone might be forgiven that there are just 30 or so countries in the world – clue, the UK already imports from/exports to more countries in the RotW than there are members of the EU – what the hell do you think the port of Rotterdam does for example!

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 21, 2020 at 11:06 am | Permalink

            We have left, Edward.

            Why do you think that there are no more clips of Farage’s excruciatingly embarrassing behaviour in the European Union Parliament?

          • Edward2
            Posted March 21, 2020 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

            Red herring alert.

            What on earth has that got to do with the subject?
            But I suppose it allows you to divert away from the points Jerry and I made.

    • Andy
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      There will clearly be a delay – even if Johnson is still lying about it.

      The massive economic change required of business to comply with all your pointless additional Brexit red tape is huge. And whether you like it or not now is not the time to be imposing that burden on firms.

      Brexit has been all but dead since late 2016 when it became clear all of the Brexiteers promises were untrue. Coronavirus has now effectively killed it off for good.

      • Pominoz
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 11:08 am | Permalink

        Keep going, Andy.

        At least you will be happy that so many oldies are succumbing.

      • jerry
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 11:24 am | Permalink

        @Andy; What a load of Europhile nonsense!

      • Richard1
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 11:54 am | Permalink

        i doubt it, although that’s a possible interpretation. More likely is, after the current economic meltdown, WTO Brexit will be felt all round to be a doddle. and a new round of project fear will be drowned out in laughter.

        Meanwhile, in case you hadn’t noticed, the euro-system is on life support. the ECB has in effect agreed to monetise the debt of the deficit countries. and the govt of Italy is begging for emergency subsidies from the rest – yes begging, thats what you have to do when you’re in a currency union.

        There will be no appetite after all this to start a trade war with the UK. so the EU will agree to a sensible FTA just like they’ve done with other countries such as Canada and Japan.

        • Sharon Jagger
          Posted March 20, 2020 at 1:43 pm | Permalink


          Your comment resonates with what I read the other day. The economy will be in such a mess that a WTO departure will hardly be noticed! That can be sorted with all the repair work, together.

          And I think the government are enjoying the freedom of doing what’s right for our country and are getting better at it. They’re also not standing any nonsense from bureaucratic civil serpents.

        • Andy
          Posted March 20, 2020 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

          A Canada deal does not mean frictionless trade. And the EU have already said no anyway.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 20, 2020 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

            Define frictionless trade.
            You don’t have a clue about international trade.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 21, 2020 at 11:09 am | Permalink

            Yes, frictionless trade is as it is between Scotland and England, or between any European Union member and another, as was the UK.

            That is absolutely not as between Canada and the European Union, for instance.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 21, 2020 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

            Not actually telling us what it entails though is it Martin?
            You non experts keep using phrases like frictionless when really you have no idea what you are talking about.

      • ukretired123
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

        Andy is always guaranteed to make me laugh at some of his nonsense.

        Oh be joyful – while you have the chance.
        Count your blessings not your failings.
        Look up – not down – as folks can bump into things.
        Give generous and you receive too.

        It is a well known fact some people’s emotional age can be half or even less than their physical age but they are unaware how they are perceived by others. Strange but true!

        • ukretired123
          Posted March 21, 2020 at 8:55 am | Permalink

          Generously (even better English language)!

    • margaret howard
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      Ian Wragg

      “We can then recover without the dead hand of EU bureaucracy.”

      So tell me again – how did the EU manage to become the world’s largest, wealthiest trading bloc? (and EdwardB – yes we all know about China)

      And how did the euro come from nowhere and replace the once mighty £ as the world’s second most desirable currency?

      You seem to equate the insistence on the highest standards for all member states with useless bureaucracy. The rest of the world doesn’t. They know that “Made in the EU” carries a guarantee of the highest quality.

      • margaret howard
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

        should read ‘Edward2’

        • Edward2
          Posted March 20, 2020 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

          You are wrong as usual Margaret.
          The world of trade outside the EU is growing fast as free trade stimulates growth between free independent nations.
          Quality standards are driven by choice and customers who can decide on the best product or service on line.
          The EU has a falling share of world trade and a growing protectinioist trade policy which giving them lower growth and high unemployment.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 21, 2020 at 11:05 am | Permalink

            “And how did we become…”
            First USA and China are wealthier and bigger.
            Secondly you do it by starting with 6 and increasing it to 28 members.
            When you add the GDP of 28 together you get a bigger total.
            Do you think Poland Portugal Cyprus Greece and Romainia have a equal wealth to Australia Canada UK or USA?

          • margaret howard
            Posted March 21, 2020 at 1:02 pm | Permalink


            “Do you think Poland Portugal Cyprus Greece and Romainia have a equal wealth to Australia Canada UK or USA?”

            So what successful trading bloc do they belong to?

          • margaret howard
            Posted March 21, 2020 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

            Edward 2

            “Quality standards are driven by choice”

            I agree. That’s why the world chooses EU products. That’s why it is the world’s wealthiest trading bloc.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 21, 2020 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

            Well the EU consists of 28 countries.
            Some make very high quality products.
            Some less so.
            And whist countries like UK France Germany and Holland are wealthy other are far less wealthy with dreadful austerity and unemployment.
            They may be members of the EU but prosperity still evades them.

    Posted March 20, 2020 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    What this government mustn’t do is listen to the virus that is Labour and the left (unions and their public sector allies) who are using this event to promote their leftist programs of creating further State reach into peoples lives, peoples hearts and peoples psychology

    In times like this the private sector will always get a good kicking as business cannot protect itself from the actions of State-employed decision makers who take decisions for political reasons rather than what is considered and appropriate

    The unionised and recalcitrant public sector will enjoy huge protection as they always do in bad times and good times. And the private, the breadwinner, is easy to impose upon.

    Let the State does its idiotic best, as it always does. Let the State does its authoritarian best as it has been doing since 1997 and continues to expand its reach now that it’s got a real reason to impose control over our lives.

    Will these controls, new powers and impositions be removed when this event has passed?

    Who’s to blame for the CV-19? Which nation’s government shall we point the finger at? Are governments deliberately abusing this event for political ends?

  10. Anonymous
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    It seems suspicious to me that a lock down in densely populated China is successful whereas a lock down in loosely populated Italy is failing.


    The NHS will not collapse because of demand. It will only collapse because of lack of funding from the jobs outside of it. Trying to explain this to a Left winger is like trying to explain calculus to a baby. They really do believe in the magic money tree.

    Soon western economies are going to discover that the cure is more lethal than the virus. I fear that we are going to have to come out of our caves and suffer a cull.

    In the meantime good – hard working – people are literally going hungry while the usual shysters still pick up their benefits, the risk of criminality from them is their version of strike action. How unfair !

    This situation will not be tolerated.

    Our leading companies go on sale to God knows whom at rock bottom prices. (we can have a good guess)

    Opportunistic military incursions are taking place by some weird coincidence to add insult to the viral injury.

    Airlines can still just about be rescued (the people are ready – the machinery is ready) Industries can just about be rescued too (the people are ready – the machinery is ready), the pubs can be rescued and the leisure jobs can be rescued but time is running out.

    Western leaders lack the balls to say that money matters and without it such as the NHS is dead for sure and countless more will die of that (and suicide and poverty) than Boomers who refuse to isolate themselves.

    The one good thing out of all this is that petty PC grievances will no longer be tolerated and we are getting a good look at what Thunbergism will be like and the young are not going to like it one bit.

    • ianterry
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 8:07 am | Permalink


      The one good thing out of all this is that petty PC grievances will no longer be tolerated and we are getting a good look at what Thunbergism will be like and the young are not going to like it one bit.

      Can’t be all bad then. Welcoming them to the real world on planet earth.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 8:41 am | Permalink

      RE you last sentence, the young in my household still have their technology and now don’t need to go to school which they quite like

      Unless they can relate the shelves being stripped bare to environmentalism they will not change their ideals one bit. This is an old person’s disease to them, I am struggling to get mine to wash their hands.

      A ray of light on the horizon is that Netflix is reducing streaming quality and I have throttled their WiFi bandwidth as I need priority when working at home so they will notice an effect of this potential return to earlier times.

      • jerry
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 11:33 am | Permalink

        @NS; “This is an old person’s disease to them, I am struggling to get mine to wash their hands.”

        Of course this was and is still not helped by the mixed messages coming out of Govt, there wasn’t enough emphasis placed on the fact that children and young adults [1] can become very good super-spreaders of this or any other virus even if they do not suffer any symptoms, then passing it on to the more and highly-vulnerable, why has it taken Covid-19 for the govt and schools to drum home even the most basic of personal hygiene?!

        Teenagers appear far more concerned about their exams, which can always be taken later, than the spread of Covid-19.

        [1] why has the govt still not ordered the closing of all pubs, bars and clubs

        • Fred H
          Posted March 20, 2020 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

          could it be that teenagers think – 67 million, 200 covid deaths over several weeks, us old and one foot in the grave, drug overdoses, road accident deaths – -not a real risk for them…..
          sad but probably true. Alarmist pessimism goes straight over their heads – now if twitter, instagram, hip radio stations ceased, now THAT would be an outrage.

        • jerry
          Posted March 20, 2020 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

          @Jerry; “why has the govt still not ordered the closing of all pubs, bars and clubs”

          Well having just seen an interview on Sky News, that’s one chain of pubs I will boycott once we can party again! I suspect someone will be regretting “doing a Ratner” once this is all over…

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 20, 2020 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

          Isn’t it mainly parents’ responsibility to instil hygiene in their young?

          • jerry
            Posted March 20, 2020 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

            @MiC; Well yes but when parents fail the State via Schools have to step in. As a left-winger Martin I would have though you would understand this, considering the lefts traditional stance on the need for full and a wide ranging sex education for example!

          • Narrow Shoulders
            Posted March 21, 2020 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

            Yes it is Marty, maybe I will take the dictatorial approach that you so favour in your politicians.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      If the NHS had the whole of GDP it would be short of resources.
      It is a soviet style monolith which will never cope.
      As I take my m in l for treatment I see so much waste and underemployment. Like all government agencies the rock face is short whilst the administration multiplies exponentially.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 11:33 am | Permalink

        Exactly right.

        Some medical staff are saintly but the system is dire.

      • jerry
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 11:36 am | Permalink

        @Ian Wragg; How is your marvellous private medicine coping in the USA, bleating for unlimited Federal funds, that.s what…

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 20, 2020 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

          Yes, privatise the profits, socialise the losses, yet again.

          When ever will the people awaken?

        • Ian Wragg
          Posted March 20, 2020 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

          Don’t live in the USA Andy. Worked there though and the basic medical treatment is very good.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 20, 2020 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

          Well no harm in asking for money is there? The US has far more capacity overall than the UK through not having a state monopoly health care system.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      @Anonymous “Airlines can still just about be rescued” The UK does not have an airline industry those that operate here are domiciled elsewhere. So there is nothing to rescue there. Although there is an opportunity to buy.

      However, the UK does have a lot of people employed in the airline industry – that’s the only bit to be rescued and secured. Maybe be using them the UK could have its own international airline

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

        Ian – I am, of course, talking in terms of the response to this crisis by the whole of the western hemisphere.

        We are locked into this job-destroying action (which will destroy all health services too) partly by because our neighbours are adopting it. Comparisons will be made between countries but deaths caused directly by CV will counted whereas deaths indirectly by CV (over many years after it’s gone) will not.

        When lock down fails (as I think it will) how long do we go on trying ?

        How long before we accept that nature is sometimes more powerful than us ?

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      Yep! The young (those the ‘failed’ generation, the boomers, raised) were joyous when they thought they were immune and the Boomers would die. Turns out the ‘young’ are pretty unhealthy – faddy eating, no exercise, no mental resilience.
      Pride before the fall?

      • jerry
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 11:41 am | Permalink

        @Lynn Atkinson; “The young (those the ‘failed’ generation, the boomers, raised)”

        You missed out a generation, the Boomer generation are the grandparents of the young who think they are immune to this virus, please do not blame my generation for the failings of those who grew up in the economic and social utopia so many people on this site have worshipped.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted March 20, 2020 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

          It’s my generation too – my 65 year old brother-in-law has a 2 year old!
          But we did fail and our children in turn exacerbated our failure with their children. Now we have stamping snowflakes who are about to learn that the world does not owe them a living.

    • Mitchel
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      I’ve just seen a clip of a Chinese medical officer in Italy saying that the so-called lockdown in Italy has been far too lax.

      • stred
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

        I’ve just seen pictures of shoppers for bog roll queuing outside a supermarket, carefully keeping 2m apart. When it opened they all piled in like a rugby scrum.

    • Lester Beedell
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      How do we know that the Chinese approach is succeeding?
      I tend to take any such announcements with a large pinch of salt!

  11. Lifelogic
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    Government calls for retired medical staff to return to the NHS. Yet the NHS cannot even get proper protective PPE equipment to their existing staff (even though they claim to have it in store) and they cannot even test their staff when needed for the virus (so some are self isolating and thus not working).

    These retired staff will generally be in the higher risk (60+ groups too). It does not sound a very appealing offer to me. 13 medics have died in Italy so far I understand and more than 2600 of them are infected.


    • Bob
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 8:54 am | Permalink

      My colleagues wife (district nurse) who was initially told not to wear a mask during home visits because it impairs communication with patients has now been told to check with the patient first to see if they are symptomatic and if so she is to return to the hospital to obtain a mask. She will not be given masks to carry with her, they will only be issued on a case by case basis as they are in short supply.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 11:36 am | Permalink

        Sound appallingly inefficient.

        Perhaps take a large plastic carrier bag full of fresh air in with you and just breath in out of that while you do the initial assessment of the patient!

        • Fred H
          Posted March 20, 2020 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

          the sarcasm is brilliant!

      • Iago
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

        N95 masks are robust enough to be sterilised by steaming for fifteen minutes after use; you can do so about five times. Just like you steam cabbage in the kitchen, but for fifteen minutes.

    • a-tracy
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

      I’m sure the military will have lots of masks, plastic face protections, gloves etc if the NHS ask.

      • glen cullen
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

        It was confirmed a few days ago by head of NHS england that there is no shortage of PPE

        Dont know why some doctors are saying the opposite?

        • a-tracy
          Posted March 21, 2020 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

          It is now time for Matt Hancock to call them out on this, ask them specifically which hospital are they talking about and check.

          We don’t pay MPs to stock medical store cupboards we pay a host of micro managers in the health service, nearly as many stock controllers, purchase orders, administrators, admin management teams as actual medics, all these doctors are confirming is that they’re poor at their jobs if they didn’t anticipate the requirement for ppe back in January, as an Operational Manager I would have foreseen and acted on this as soon as this virus took off in Italy- did this government keep the medical profession heads informed – if they did they need holding to account for underperforming and not issuing ppe advice to front line staff.

  12. Stred
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    The French approach is a good idea. Businesses which lose more than 50% of turnover will be compensated for their losses caused by the lock down.
    The civil service has had three months to make plans and now that they have found that doing very little would most likely cause half a million deaths, including the young and people with controlled health conditions, they have no plans having stopped the economy. They are unfit for purpose.

    • Andy
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 8:41 am | Permalink

      The Civil Service delivers government policy. It is for ministers to decide.

      And they decided to prioritised Brexit preparations – which we know will make us poorer – rather than a Coronavirus response.

      When the dust settles on all this and the UK and the US have the worst death rates among developed countries I hope blame is correctly assigned at the failed governments in both countries.

      • Lester Beedell
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

        The civil service tends not to deliver government policy
        Have you not been keeping up with the Priti Patel story?
        There’s a great deal about it in the media!

      • forthurst
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

        Public Health has got very little with Brexit; we trade viruses with the whole world. The Civil Service is there to give advice as well as administer policy. If its ranks are filled with people with similar educational backgrounds to politicians than what value is their advice?

      • graham1946
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

        Stop trying to blame the UK for everything. You are so unpatriotic it’s unbelievable.
        Put the blame where it lies – China – its filthy eating habits of consuming anything that lives and the disgusting Communist regime there which knew about the virus weeks before they admitted to it and tried to hush it up to save their stinking faces. This regime is the real virus on the world and like all left wing ideas ends in detention camps and violence against its own people. We’ve seen plenty of evidence of that, from China, USSR, North Korea and all the other communistic hell holes.The blame is not correctly assigned to us or the USA but to China. You are totally deluded and wrong as usual

    • Bob
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 8:57 am | Permalink

      “They are unfit for purpose.”

      Who knew?

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      All the measures announced by HMG were prefaced by an explanation as to what “we” were going to do and the Government’s reasoning for them.

      There were none saying “what the Civil Service have decided to do is” etc.

      So you can attempt to smear the blame away from those whom you now so obviously unwisely elected, but you have absolutely no grounds to do so.

      Your post is utterly disgraceful.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

        Gosh how much more disgraceful can you get.

  13. BeebTax
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    Salary or income support is already needed. However if a percentage is applied, it should be related to the recipient’s wages: an executive might survive very comfortably for a few months on 50% salary, but someone on minimum wage would not, and might even need 90% or more to keep solvent.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      It should be capped at the living wage then some people might wake up.

      • Fred H
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

        and others get a pay rise.

        • a-tracy
          Posted March 21, 2020 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

          Everyone over 25 is guaranteed the national living wage Fred up 6.2% this year and is £17,000 pa full-time.

      • Oldsalt
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

        Or rather the state pension which many have to live on.

    • jerry
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      @BeebTax; Someone on minimum wage would likely need more than 100%, given the shortages (they will have to buy what they can get, not what is cheapest), the greater use of domestic energy, high than normal use of telephones etc.

      Also if utility bills are off-set this help might need to be extended past when ever this crisis ends and people can get back (in) to work.

      We are possibly seeing a social crisis develop not unlike that of the 1930s.

  14. Cheshire Girl
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    The Government is under enormous strain. Not only are they trying to manage the outbreak and save lives, but also to shore up the economy, and help all those businesses and people losing their livelihoods. They are under assault from all sides.

    Too many people, aided and abetted by the Media, are wanting instant answers to every question. No government of any stripe could provide these.

    I know its not easy, but I believe the Government are doing their very best for everyone, ably assisted by the impressive Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientist, who are keeping their cool. As for the Chancellor. Well, he has been thrown in at the deep end, and, in my opinion is doing a very good job trying to address the concerns of so many. I would guess he isn’t getting much sleep.

    To get through this time, we should try to follow sensible health instructions, and look out for others, as best we can, and try to give the Government a break, and thanks for the impossible task they are undertaking.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      Chehire Girl


    • jerry
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 10:28 am | Permalink

      “Too many people, aided and abetted by the Media, are wanting instant answers to every question. No government of any stripe could provide these.”

      Sorry but I’m not entirely convinced by such arguments, it has been the duty of HMG for decades to plan for these sorts of civil, economic or military emergencies, hence why the Civil Contingency Act is ready to be enacted with not much more than a nod of the head, it’s not as if a massive earthquake has hit without warning.

      The likelihood of a near total lock-down (in the event of Covid-19 reaching the UK, and the almost inevitability of that) was known about since at least mid Jan, today is March 20th, neither substantive fiscal/economic measures are in place, nor has the food distribution system been stabilised.

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      And stop going up on ladders, driving as little as possible, no using power tools or getting legless on a Saturday night.

      Anything to keep out of A&E at this time.

    Posted March 20, 2020 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    ‘relax the controls’. Surely, you mean abolish?

  16. Bryan Harris
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Why doesn’t the government give advice to help stop people getting sick. AS always they stick with their own establishment ‘experts’ and ignore the science behind nutritional medicine.

    Simply taking vitamins A, C and D will help many to resist the virus.

    Our bodies become resistant to a new virus by having been attacked by it – If we are better off, physically, our immune systems will contain the virus and keep it from causing trouble – we simply need to build up our immune systems to cope with a fresh attack.

    If the government uses this ’emergency’ to take away freedoms, they certainly will not be doing the job we expect of them.

    • SM
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 7:58 am | Permalink

      Why aren’t the vast majority of adults able to seek advice on how to live healthily – which is widely available – and use their own intelligence to take such boosters as are usually promoted to counter infections?

      • Bryan Harris
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 11:33 am | Permalink

        Because there is so much contradictory information, from government agencies, MSM, ETC – especially on nutritional medicine which these sources ignore in favour of drug solutions.

        Are we going to see a partially tested vaccine imposed on us all, which is what happens with all previous vaccines?

        Better to protect ourselves with good nutrition, rather than wait for a remedy that many not work for all people.

      • jerry
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

        @SM; “adults [are] able to seek advice on how to live healthily – which is widely available – and use their own intelligence”

        I think you are assuming a lot there! Even in normal times ‘healthy living’ information is widely available, despite this many choose to either not access it or ignore it, buying some of the most unhealthy of foods known to man on a daily/weekly bases and feeding their families on it. It might not even enter someone’s consciousness that because they say live in a north facing apartment, spending most of their time inside, they and their family could start to suffer from certain vitamin deficiencies.

        Where I disagree with Bryan is on his suggestion that vitamins can beat Covid-19, I suspect the normal Italian & Spanish diets are rich in the vitamins he suggests… That said we do need to guard against other illnesses and health problems that might lay people wide open to the affects of Covid-19.

        • Bryan Harris
          Posted March 21, 2020 at 7:46 am | Permalink

          I didn’t say ‘vitamins can beat Covid-19’

          I did say ‘Simply taking vitamins A, C and D will help many to resist the virus’

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 21, 2020 at 11:15 am | Permalink

            Yes, it’s hard to see what harm it could do and many are deficient in one or more of those.

          • jerry
            Posted March 21, 2020 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

            @Bryan Harris; “I didn’t say ‘vitamins can beat Covid-19’”

            Then you were even more crass!

            “taking vitamins A, C and D will help many to resist the virus”

            No, such vitamins will not stop you catching Covid-19.

            Being as healthy as possible MIGHT well allow your body to resist the infection better, but that is a moot point looking towards Italy and increasingly Spain. The Mediterranean diet being traditionally high in such vitamins, even during the winter months.

          • Bryan Harris
            Posted March 22, 2020 at 7:34 am | Permalink


            Why are you always so offensive when showing your ignorance.

            The data on helping boost immune systems is available if you cared to look – It applies to any virus…

            You confuse an allegedly healthy diet with having adequate sources of the right supplements to give bodies greater resilience.

  17. Mark B
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    The virus is in the ‘system’. The best measure the government should have taken was to limit all travel from affected countries but, I guess, due to political and big business interests it decided not too. Therefore I argue, the government failed in its primary function and is now trying to put out the flames of a fire it could have avoided.

    The best measure now is, as I said yesterday, is to KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON ! Let the virus spread, pass, and then hopefully, learn from it. One lesson we can take is that those we place our trust in to govern should be people more decisive in nature, able to see the big picture, like our kind host, and be prepared to make tough decisions. I am afraid to say that those in government have been like rabbits caught in the headlights of a speeding electric vehicle. /sarc

    Finally I do not want to break the law. I have never broken the law and do not wan to but . . . ! If like in Italy and France I am placed, along with the rest of the populace, under House Arrest then I am going to !

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      Then you deserve to be punished as such lawbreakers were in China, I think.

    • jerry
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      @Mark B; You were wrong yesterday, you are wrong again today.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      Spot on. Politicians need not have the same characteristics as popular actors! You are unlikely to fraternise with them, therefore you don’t have to ‘like’ them, you need to respect them! These are the people who will champion you in that great battle and the weapon is brains. Choose a WINNER – or lose!
      We know for certain that the one thing Britain cannot afford is to have our host sitting about on the back benches because he has been true to his politics rather than courting popularity.

    • Mockbeggar
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      If you do, don’t come near me chum.

      • Mark B
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

        Why, will you be breaking the law the same as me ?


    • hefner
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      Yesterday I came back from South of France with the last Easyjet flight from the airport closer to my place. The French people are not under House Arrest. They are told to limit their trips to their surroundings only to get food or prime necessity products.
      If one needs a long trip they are likely to be stopped by the police to show their ‘Autorisation de deplacement derogatoire’ a paper that can be downloaded from multiple sites, signed ‘sur l’honneur’ and indicating the reason for the trip (for food, pharmacy, GP surgery, workers in essential services (utilities companies, …) or a very good reason like mine going to the airport to go back to base.

      There have now been multiple speeches by Macron and Philippe. Over the last ten days (when I was in France) the Health Minister, and several scientists advising the government have had sessions of questions-answers with the public practically every day on various news slots by the main radio stations.

      For the limited group of French people I talked to, they seem to all agree that this ‘confinement’ is necessary.

      I came back to England yesterday night [no check whatsoever in the (relatively) deserted airport] to learn that one of my grandchildren who was still at school here in the UK might have got the infection. I hope you will understand that I cannot stand the ‘rodomontades’ of some oldies here, specially those who keep reminding us of the Blitz spirit when they were actually born after 1946.

    • jerry
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      Sky News has broadcast a report from an Italian hospital, they should make it available to all UK broadcasters, it is truly awful to watch knowing that people such as Mark B above carry on glibly telling people to ignore the restrictions – Covid-19 is not ‘just a bad case of Flu’, it is more akin to bad case of double-pneumonia, with the likelihood of other organs failing too.

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      So long as you don’t call 111 or 999 when you get ill.

  18. oldtimer
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    The government faces difficult choices. For the moment it has chosen to support the scientists in their attempts to flatten the Covid-19 incidence curve. This, as you say, is all based on guesswork that it will enable the NHS to cope with the demand. They have also chosen to shut down large areas of the economy. It takes no guesswork to calculate the consequences – insolvencies and job losses – as the just in time cash flow economy grinds to a halt with some irreparable consequences. At some point the decision will have to be made the reverse the advice to self isolate in an attempt to attempt to resuscitate the economy. Otherwise the sacred cow that is the NHS will kill the economy.

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 7:58 am | Permalink

      … and the economy will kill the NHS.

      A Churchillian speech is needed more than ever. Perhaps one from the Queen too.

    • Time Lord Community
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      The change of policy will come into the minds of government next week. A little bird told me they are going to get a shock. Aim small miss small

  19. agricola
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    I get the impression you are thinking along the same lines as myself. All employed people and self employed people need the support of their salaries and wages to ensure that the structure of society continues to exist even when much of it is producing and doing nothing. The alternative is that employment erodes and disappears to the point where their is nothing to return to when it is considered safe to return to normality. If government have to print money to do it, so be it. It is hardly a new process for them, it is just the cause that is different.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      and the recipient… generally it’s the capitalists paying to keep the Corporatists afloat. Time for a Corporate sacrifice.

    • agricola
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

      Sounds as if Boris and our Chancellor are thinking and acting along the very lines suggested above. They deserve support for the courage and originality they have shown.

      Now we need measures to deal with the anti social hoarders who have stripped supermarkets.

      Finally we need to be prepared to deal with the social unrest caused by largely younger people mostly in London now that the pubs and clubs are off limits.

      • jerry
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

        @agricola; “[Boris and our Chancellor] deserve support for the courage and originality they have shown.”

        Why! They still leave the self employed and many in the gig-economy hung out to dry, oh they can now claim UC (getting SSP in effect, assuming they can wait up to 5 weeks), whilst everyone else is getting 80% of their usual pay from the government – the HMRC knows the income of the SE via their tax returns, true the HMRC might have to work from the 2018-19 tax year but so what. They will have most self employed peoples bank account details and for those who have not supplied it yet the HMRC only needs to ask them to do so via the usual personal Gateway account. Sorry but, Boris nor the Chancellor, have not got my support yet, and at this rate never will have.

        “Now we need measures to deal with the anti social hoarders who have stripped supermarkets.

        Well actually we need the govt to be pro-active, either get the army in to help transport what we are told are plentiful stocks in manufactures warehouses or introduce some form of rationing. You can not blame people for hoarding when the Govt and media keep telling people that they might have to self-isolate for 7, 14 or perhaps 80+ or so days.

        As I said in reply to someone else, the govt knew they were going to ask this of people so why didn’t the govt advise the supermarkets weeks ago, the supermarkets could certainly have built up stock of non perishables, doing so under the guise of post Christmas sales if they didn’t want to ‘spook’ the public – instead a certain chain of supermarket seems to have decided to fill floor space with home furnishings and trinkets.

        Sorry if I sound angry but I am.

  20. Anonymous
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    The ITN news report on Italy was harrowing. People suffering from pneumonia need to be shown on TV more to ram home that this is serious and Boomers going to the pub while saying they’re not scared might change their minds, finally.

    • Cheshire Girl
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      I’m pretty sure that it is not just ‘Boomers’ going to the Pub. Some of them look pretty young to me!

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

        Boomers mixing with the young. I’m still seeing plenty of them knocking ’em back in the pub – the Blitz spirit and all that.

        Bravado is not the same as stoicism.

        I’ve seen this before, my own in-laws moved to Cyprus, he with emphysema after a life on cigars.

        They promised they’d be alright and that they would die quietly and be no burden. Come the day, there he was on Skype crying like a baby and showing us his dying moments.

        Emergency flights out there and repatriation of the body at huge cost to us as they’d blown several inheritances and their own pensions on the high life.

        She’s stranded out there now.

        We did advise them not to go there.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      Hancock this morning – if the science suggests we need to do more we will. If? What on earth does he mean “IF”. The NHS is just not ready to cope perhaps by a factor of only having 1/10 of the ventilators etc. needed in just a few days time and he is saying If?

      He still does really not get it does he?

  21. Kevin
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    “Government needs to weigh very carefully the balance between the health crisis and the economic crisis.”

    Can the Government assure us that it considers everyone to be of equal worth regardless of their economic status at the time the health crisis struck?

    Posted March 20, 2020 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    The Tory government’s appalling refusal to reform Labour’s bloated, expanding, overmanned, deliberately wasteful and highly protective client state leaves it little wiggle room to provide the necessary liquidity to help the wealth generating sector that pays all the bills and keeps this nation afloat

    The deliberate avoidance of reform will now be fully felt. If reformed had been implemented some time ago the Exchequer would now in a better position to help the wealth creators and the bill payers.

    We see this in Italy and France where the State’s lethargy and waste provides minimal room for fiscal support for the wealth creators. Though Macron has tried to reform the backward public sector which has led to violence as State vested interest groups fight to protect their privileges from reform

    This PM must reform and undermine Labour and their client state rather than listen to the constant promotion of their socialist ideas designed to embed and expand their influence and reach

    • Fred H
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 8:37 am | Permalink

      well said.

    • JoolsB
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      Totally agree Dominic. 10 years since Labour were in office and nothing has been done to reduce the bloated, expensive, wasteful public sector including the H of L and H of C. I think the mistake we are making is assuming we have had Tory Governments in charge for the last 10 years. If only…..!!

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 10:21 am | Permalink

      Would you care to define your term “client state” please?

      It has a well-used meaning, but which you seem to be completely wrongly applying.

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

        The same Blob that stopped us from being able to refuse entry to people from CV hot spots (or at least quarantine them.)

        • jerry
          Posted March 20, 2020 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

          @Anonymous; There is nothing in EU law or rules tha5t stops the closing of boarders in such circumstances, such provision is even built onto the Schengen Agreement.

          Anyway it wasn’t EU migrants who brought Covid-19 back with them from their holidays and business trips to China and Asia…

          • a-tracy
            Posted March 21, 2020 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

            Jerry I don’t know about who brought the virus back and I don’t know how you can say that you do either news stopped on that as deaths mounted up, the one man who died at Manchester Northern Hospital was an EU migrant who was originally from Pakistan, then Italy then came to the UK to live with his son, he contracted the virus after a long visit back to Italy and arrived back with it.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      But he is a self-confessed ‘socialist’. Why would he reform away from his core belief?

  23. Dave
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    So based on completely reliable figures, far less deaths than an average year from flu and mass media hype we have succeeeded in panicing ourselves into cratering the world economy thereby creating supply chain collapse and probably very serious food shortages at a time when the climate is getting considerably colder and wetter. It is extremely likely we are going to suffer very greatly from this stupidity and I fully expect draconian legislation to force us to take dangerous vaccines and remove liberty wholesale simply to control the unrest.

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

      agree with your comments…..self induced panic

    • Chris
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

      I fear you are right, Dave.

    • jerry
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

      @Dave; Trouble is it is not just happening here in the UK, not even just Europe, New York and the whole of California are in lock-down, watch Australian TV via YouTube and there is but one subject – feel free to find a clue!

  24. Lifelogic
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    Boris tells us to “stand by our workers as we will stand by you”, well my wages of circa £60k goes out in ten days so what are they doing. You cannot even apply for the government loans yet or even see if you qualify. All the government has done so far is encourage my tenants not to pay their rents on time.

    So what exactly are the government going to do before the month ends?

  25. George Brooks.
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    We are in similar position with this virus and resultant economic crisis as were in 1940 at the beginning of WW2 and thank heaven we didn’t have Lifelogic around on a soap box at that time. All criticism and very little constructive thought.

    We are getting signs that the PM found his Beaverbrook some weeks ago as ventilators were being purchased from the outset and now a consortium of manufactures are making them. The same is true of testing kits of all types and PPE.

    The NHS is working flat out freeing up more hospital beds and the call to recently retired medics (many of whom will be in their early 60s) has gone out and will be successful.

    We have had one significant package of help from the Chancellor and will be getting another today. All of this clearly illustrates that the team in No 10 is planning well ahead and successfully multi-tasking. Previous residents in Downing St were not very good at this.

    So let’s help them with constructive thought and action and whilst life will be very uncomfortable and difficult for a time we will get through it and come out on top.

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

      It’s now about the food chain and where to find the money from the lost jobs to pay for the NHS .

      Ventilators are the least of our worries (and clearly should have been jacked up once Italy broke.)

      The people are losing their jobs and the majority are deeply worried about losing their jobs.

      Do you not get the seriousness of this ?

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

        We need very hard nosed pragmatism.

        The cure is worse than the symptom and this country’s softness has to go.

    • jerry
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

      @George Brooks; If you care to study WW2 you will see that there were many “Lifelogics” around in 1939-40, some made constructive comments and others made comments that basically undermined the war effort – most of the latter were soon rounded up and interned…

      As for Beaverbrook, yes a great motivator (the piles of otherwise utterly useless pots and pans proved that), but it was Ernest Bevin who jacked-up production of essential equipment etc, I have yet to see Boris find his “Bevin”.

      Regarding action by the Chancellor, sounds like you own or work for a large company, for SMEs and the Self-employed he has yet to do anything significant, despite the suggestions you call for having already been made here and on many other sites such as ConHome.

  26. John E
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    I fully agree with your article!

    I think the best hope in the short and medium term lies in the use of antivirals or other drugs that are being trialled to make this a treatable condition. We can’t count on a vaccine – remember for example that there is still no HIV vaccine, although a Coronavirus vaccine is probably simpler to produce.

    We read that many of the key ingredients for critical medicines that are needed to treat existing illnesses are made in India or China and that the supply is vulnerable. The government needs to act urgently to ensure that manufacturing capability is re-established in this country for existing and new medicines.

    • John E
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      One other thought is Test Test Test. We need the facts.
      For all I know I may already have had the virus and am sheltering in my house for nothing.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

        Antibody tests will in due course become available to find out who has had the virus and so get them back to work.

        This is a matter of the utmost urgency.

      • rose
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

        The Test Test Test may not give you the facts. There is Chinese research among others suggesting it is sometimes 50% reliable.

        • rose
          Posted March 20, 2020 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

          That is the test to see if you have got the virus. There is no test yet to tell you if you have had it. That is the one the advisers keep saying they want.

  27. Shirley M
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    I am thankful that the death rate is fairly low. Imagine a virus that killed 50%, or more, of those contracting it. Nature will always try to reduce an overpopulation and these pandemics will become more frequent, and more damaging, due to overcrowded cities and unlimited international travel. It is a recipe for the world wide decimation of humans.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

      There’s nothing to say that such a thing could not happen. Ebola was/is such a disease.

      So there needs to be global organisation to stamp it out promptly should one emerge.

      This might turn out to be just a gentle lesson for humanity.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

      Exactly. Makes you wonder how we survived The Black Death?

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 8:21 am | Permalink

        Who the blazes are “we”?

        Most people didn’t.

  28. Fred H
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    The Lifelogic show is alive and well.

    • Peter
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 12:05 pm | Permalink


      Anyone keeping scores?

      I think new-kid-on-the block Martin now has a lot of posts to make up today.

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      He’s actually a good old boy. If a tad verbose.

  29. Richard1
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    It is essential such measures are temporary only for the current emergency. Leftists are attempting to try to get massive welfare, state interventionism and micro management of corporate strategies baked into the law for the long term. If we need the govt to guarantee the wages of employees in an organisation then fair enough let’s do it. But let’s make sure the organisation does its bit. Airlines for example are reported as having called for aid. Ok let’s guarantee wages up to eg £30k. But then the companies should divert resources from those paid more than that to ease the burden. So the highly paid pilots and of course the management need to accept a temporary pay cut. Legislation may be needed to disapply rights to claim constructive dismissal while such measures are in place.

    Calls for nationalisation, permanent new benefits all sorts of mad green policies need to be rejected. Such policies must be debated and implemented or not for the long term in the normal way. After public debate, scrutiny and elections.

  30. Nessimmersion
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    It appears that Chloroquine is effective as both a treatment for and a preventative against Covid 19.
    Trump has announced the US is expeditinf further trials.
    If the billions wasted on Public Health England & Scotland had been spent building stockpiles of Chloroquine and field hospitals, we would be in a much better place.
    The UK has banned the export of Chloroquine since the 19th of Feb.
    Can Sir John find out:
    How many UK manufacturers can make it.
    What are current UK stocks.
    How many times has it been prescribed to treat patients in the UK since late Feb

    • Man of Kent
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

      50 years ago in Singapore our daughter was born with a cleft palate .
      There was no hereditary implication but a doctor did say that my wife should have been advised not to take the anti malarial chloroquine as that was probably the reason .
      What it points to is the need for clinical trials for the dosage in both suppressant and curative roles if it is effective against CV 19.

      My daughters palate was closed effectively by the NHS and she and her daughters live full lives .

    • Old chemist
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

      To reply to your query about making chloroquine. When I started out in the 70 the active ingredient could be made in many small scale facilities. Indeed I was involved in making a wide range of chemicals. In the 90 there was a severe rationalisation and these facilities were closed as they could not meet the Good manufacturing practices that were demanded spearheaded by the FDA. This has raised standards in UK but in reality moved the manufacture to China and India where although supposedly to standard they have had a lot worse scandals. So sourcing the active is going to be hard as China is shut down.
      Unintended consequences of safety coming home to roost?

  31. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Sir John,

    I have concerns about the support being offered to businesses in that they will probably not be offered universally. As such healthy businesses who suffer a smaller downturn will not be compensated and will either ned to downsize slightly or use up[ reserves to keep trading.

    Those supported businesses will emerge in the same state as before but the businesses that had reserves to invest will be disadvantaged and perhaps less competitive.

    It is difficult to be fair in this situation but any action really needs to be universal rather than targeted.

    Any wage interventions need to be based on essential outgoings not income.

  32. Fred H
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    The bucket list ‘must do a cruise before I die’ seems to be a self-fulfilling outcome rather sooner than expected.
    I find it amazing how many stories are coming out of the seriously ill, disabled and life-extending drug reliant users who are going on these boring jaunts.
    Anybody want a nearly new large floating hotel – going cheap?

    • jerry
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

      @Fred H; Cruising is no more a bucket list than all those 18-30 jaunts by air to the Far East or the Spanish Islands, or the cheap stand-by one way ticket to/from a gap-year in Oz or where ever.

      “Anybody want a nearly new large floating hotel – going cheap?”

      I doubt many will be for sale, there’s likely more chance of infection whilst flying, and certainly less risk of a passenger catching a virus at breakfast in one hemisphere of the words and infecting the other by breakfast the next day. Ocean Liners and Cruises could be in for a renewed Golden age.

      • Fred H
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 10:56 am | Permalink

        jerry – – did I touch on a raw nerve?
        In a few months the cruise industry will be dead or giving big discounts’.

        • jerry
          Posted March 21, 2020 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

          @Fred H; Why the snide jealousy Fred, can’t afford to take a relaxing, get away from it all, cruise?

          In a few months the entire economy (other than food and Pharmas’) will be dead or giving huge discounts.

  33. Jim
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Cost/benefit. Say the current plan costs the economy £50Bn over the next two years and say the current plan ‘saves’ 20,000. That means we spent £2.5 million to ‘save’ each life. Not normally worth it, but….

    The alternative is not good either. Do nothing and maybe 50,000 die. The effect of that much illness on the economy is not negligible. Say 3% of GDP over one year, roughly £65Bn. So it is not obvious which is the better strategy.

    Then there is the politics. The EU is following the former strategy, it may turn out well, it may not. But Boris would be taking a big risk to do any different. The second strategy would have to prove dramatically better than the EU’s strategy to justify the body count. Imagine the screaming from the DM. Boris has his sovereignty all right – but it is no use to him. Follow the EU.

    • stred
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

      The figure estimated by Imperial College for ‘do nothing’ is 500,000 deaths, not 50,000. Very few people seem to have read it.

  34. Tabulazero
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Will you support the PM when he will inevitably ask in June for the transition period to be extended beyond 2020 in the light of the covid-19 outbreak or will you accuse him of betraying Brexit ?

    Where do you stand on this issue ?

    Reply I support his recent statement that there will be no delay

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      I think the offer is sitting there with the EU for a free trade deal.
      Yes or no doesn’t need a transition.
      All that whinging about WTO terms seems trivial now and will do in 9 months time.

    • Tabulazero
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

      Do you also support the government’s decision to shut down schools and universities ?

    • Andy
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      There will be a delay – and the law will pass through Parliament because pretty much every opposition MP will back it and he needs fewer than 100 Tories to side with them. There are still enough sensible Tories to stop it.

      Brexit was always foolish and devastatingly costly to our economy. Going ahead with no deal in this scenario would be criminal. Are you prepared to back such criminality by putting ideology before people?

      • Edward2
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

        “Criminal”…you are so hilarious Andy.
        Please quote the criminal law you are referring to.

      • Fred H
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

        no no no – not more Brexit. Let it rest perleassse.

  35. ukretired123
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    “Confined to Barracks!”

    That’s my wife’s old-fashioned (British grit) take on this to cheer folks up.

    The the first time in decades QT on BBC was deadly serious with minimal politics and more responsibility and respect to everyone’s view.

    The importance of technology especially the internet keeping folks informed has been proven like never before and it’s important that everyone possible be empowered by it.

    SJR deserves great credit for affording us insight into the future problems and opportunities over decades, often a lone voice in a mad world, via his many books and this blog, despite all the critics.

    Great to hear 1400 firms are working on manufacturing ventilators already.
    Great to see Professor Solomon of Lpool University giving prevention advice and shows the dilemma of time split between this and his key virus research work 24/7.
    Great to hear the country coming together to help others.
    Great to hear NHS being given free food, drink and even BP fuel!

  36. bigneil(newercomp)
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    Are there any countries that haven’t got any cases of it? If so – why? there must be a reason.

    • Lester Beedell
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      No Air travel?

    • hefner
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      At 13:13 today there were 162 countries with at least one case.
      Looking at the map on the John Hopkins CSSE website, it would be very difficult to figure out which country has not been infected.

    • jerry
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

      @bigneil; No cases or no reported cases, North Korea perhaps?…

  37. ukretired123
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    A man went to the chemist recently and asked:

    ” About the letter you sent me last year.
    Can I have the the flu jab now please? ” (Thinking it will ward off Covid19)

    The young lady went to the back room and came later saying :

    “I’m sorry but we don’t have any left”……

    I would have said “Sorry you missed your appointment 6 months ago…….”

    You could make it up. Embarrassing all round.
    That’s what happens when things are free

    • hefner
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      No, that’s what happened when people are convinced it cannot happen to them.

  38. Iago
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    For two months the government did nothing (choice 1), then it spoke of flattening the curve (choice 2). A few days ago, the scientists from Imperial College published the Italian data and the government has been frightened into some action. There is a third option, which is a major, short, sharp quarantine, closing the schools and borders and stopping the vast majority of people from going to work, text book epidemiology. This would save more lives and cost the economy less than long drawn out (re)action. Why not try it? I believe it would have the support of the vast majority.

    Note: there are still a few parts of the country where a quarantine would not be necessary, e.g. Orkney, Shetland perhaps, the Western Isles, perhaps a part of Wales. These could be isolated from the rest of the country, but there would have to be rigorous testing as in the rest of the country.

    • stred
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      Sky has local authority records. Shetlands is a hot spot.

  39. agricola
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    As I think I have mentioned in the past, I spend most of my life in Spain. Here the government have imposed a much more rigid shut down than is apparent in the UK. You only leave your home to visit food stores, chemists, the doctors or the bank. If you are caught socialising or out illegitimately you can expect a fine of around Euros 500.

    Today I witnessed something I never expected to see in Spain. Spaniards queuing outside the supermarket and the farmacia, all spaced two metres apart and masked like bank robbers. At normal times the Spanish do not queue, it is not in their DNA. I look forward to witnessing cyclists stopping at traffic lights and pedestrian crossings. We could be on the brink of a social revolution. Just to emphasise the change it is raining today.

    • Fred H
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

      not falling mainly only the plain then?

  40. Ian @Barkham
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    The Main stream Media still amuse with their constant haranguing with ‘how long is a piece of string’ questioning.

    We are at war with an unseen enemy that could just as easily morph into another entity.

    The only obvious point is that if ‘we’ are all in this together and pull in the same direction it will be starved and wither sooner. The MsM are I would assume part of the ‘we’ or the are agents of the virus. For the first time in their life they are part of the problem or part of the solution – they need to get real.

    They need to start by making self isolating possible by also playing their part. Then when will it end can be answered.

  41. One week left
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    An Amazon warehouse in the USA closed down as ONE employee is found to have the cor0novirus

    My small supermarket today , out of bread by 10am, delivery was before 7am.
    66% out of milk 66% out of potatoes, 75% out of whatever, etc etc

    (2 items only rule)

    Get our people back to work immediately. It isn’t rocket science”

    If they are off work they will go in more and more to the supermarket and cruise round going to more.

    Which b. fools in the Cabinet thought closing down workplaces a good idea?
    These crises will increase. The Cabinet will be responsible for mass murder.This is not Italy where Mama’s mama has a pear tree and a goat outside the kitchen window for milk.

    One obstacle in the food chain and everything stops. This is the worst government one can imagine. Such naive inexperienced fools.Teenagers

    • Peter
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      When was the last time you were in Italy?

    • hefner
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      In Reading this morning 8:30 (at a time supposed reserved for older people) a very nice youngish lady was trying to get an lot (I am not sure how many but more than five or six) packs of toilet rolls saying she was paying on three different tickets. As she had started to shout on the ‘unhelpful’ cashier the store manager intervened, told her she could only have two packs, and to come back later possibly with letters from ‘the old people’ she was saying to be shopping for. Most people in the long queue that had formed were either supportive of the manager or saying nothing.

      • One week left
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

        Of course she could have been buying for three separate people or three separate households . It is common for youngish people, couples, to buy for their parents and siblings and the other way round.

    • steve
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

      One Week left

      “One obstacle in the food chain and everything stops. This is the worst government one can imagine. Such naive inexperienced fools.”

      Ah but !…..they have at hand an ‘expert’ who is in his element with this pandemic stuff, and is able to waffle on about curves that lack numerical data.

      Maintaining daily life doesn’t come into it.

      Next thing will be greed buying at the pumps, and what will government do about it ?…nothing.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 8:25 am | Permalink

        Oh. Have they got a cars with lots of fuel tanks then?

    • everyone knows
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 1:58 am | Permalink

      We are nearly at the end of politics as we know it, they are all currently destroying themselves to fulfill the prophecies in the Book of Revelation in which we all enjoy a thousand years of peace without them.

  42. Polly
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Not unexpectedly, the latest research from Italy indicates that 99% of Chinese Flu fatalities had underlying health conditions, and that age alone was not necessarily a factor.

    Therefore, would it not be more sensible for governments to focus heavily on isolation for high risk groups, including block bookings of hotels in isolated locations all expenses paid if individuals can’t isolate at home, rather than closing the country down virtually completely and wrecking the economy ?

    This research also, not unexpectedly, strongly suggests the hypothesis in The Lancet and British Medical Journal relating to the newer ACE and ARB medications is true and therefore alternative older medications should be reintroduced……

    There should also be a national campaign against the use of Ibuprofen which acts in a similar manner and makes the condition worse. The NHS advises against it’s use but very few people appear to be aware of the advice.


    • Everhopeful
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      As with a lot of advice this is totally at odds with what WHO ( World Health Organisation) is saying.
      Dated 18th March 2020 WHO knows of no adverse effects of Ibuprofen re virus.
      Strange. Which opinion is disinformation?

      • Polly
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

        Here’s the March 17 report from the British Medical Journal…..

        It was recently headlined in the Mail that a patient in her 30s was in an ICU thereby demonstrating that the virus seriously affects younger people too.

        Then it emerged that she had been taking roughly double the recommended dose of Ibuprofen !


      • forthurst
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

        That depends on whether you believe that world government is either effective or necessary, especially if is to be constructed using Affirmative Action.

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

      Where is Boris’ inner Churchill ?

      The people have had sight of the terrors of shut down and will back him if he says “Killing the economy will kill far more than the virus – we have to start up again.”

    • stred
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      Lunchtime news has just shown a doctor examining a patient with suspected covid19 wearing a mask. The mask was not sealed around his nose and he has a thick beard. When I bought a mask last month the instructions were to seal it tightly and to shave hair. What is the point in sending masks and protective equipment if staff don’t know how to use it?

  43. Iain Gill
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    the key worker list is going to have to be rejigged

    do they know what the raw ingredients are for loo roll?


    • Fred H
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

      find some old Guardian papers – tear into strips…..just remember to bath/shower to get the newsprint off.

    • MeSET
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

      It seems our government human beings have little to no understanding of the complexity of jobs, products . services and distribution.
      Recently I found this ignorance is mirrored in the highest members of the financial individuals of the USA.
      You cannot isolate work processes (jobs) as our government has done. I know, most people understand this. For the want of a horse shoe nail. But they are illiterate too.

  44. One week left
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    The experience of my regional mayor in anything to do with these food and logistics matters and anything at all in civvy street is exactly zero. Worse, he is a little boy.

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      Just shows what a waste of money and time ‘Regional Mayors’ are

      They’re not even involved in the emergency Gold Silver Bronze command structures

  45. glen cullen
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    Everybody will be receiving their Council Tax demand this week with a 4-5% increase

    The fear of unemployment and paying bills in the private sector is real

    • Fred H
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      had ours recently – a cause for reflection on what we get – the worst financial rip-off we’ve ever had – and its annual.

      Posted March 20, 2020 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      Don’t you understand contemporary British politics? The primary role of the private sector employee is simple. It is to finance the gilded cage of the British State and the public sector who promote the idea of equality and slavishness to the public sector while lining their own pockets

      Thou shalt not slander the NHS. Thou shalt not slander the State. Thou shalt not slander the Police. Thou shalt remain silent and obedient. Thou shalt accept your
      whatever the State demands, or else.

      In effect, we are now financing the destruction of our own freedoms and our own demonisation. The socialists and identarian fascists who have used Labour as an established political vehicle to assert control are victorious. there now is zero opposition to their rampant politicisation of our world

  46. a-tracy
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    John, How is the broadband going to cope with all these children out of school from next week, people working from home, people isolating at home all suddenly wanting to watch their streaming channels, is this going to knock offline all of the home workers? Are our business systems going to fall over because kids are all whatsapping each other and gaming and youtubing.

    • Sharon Jagger
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      I heard that Netflix and You Tube are not going to use HD as much or at all to make the data go further!

    • forthurst
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

      Ever heard of throttling?

      • a-tracy
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 9:26 pm | Permalink


      • Fred H
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 10:50 am | Permalink

        in connection with what? Broadband sharing, neighbours? MPs, ‘experts’?

  47. ian
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    What a pickle. You are now living in a war zone. What can be done, not a lot.

  48. Everhopeful
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    As far as I can see the only possible criticism that can be levelled at the govt’s initial reaction to the virus was to follow the advice of WHO. And why would they not? UK is signed up to all these international bodies who probably know what they are talking about.
    But now govt has been hijacked by mob opinion and left wing petitions.
    “Close the schools” demands the petition started by those who largely Home Ed.
    “Give us a Basic Allowance” screech the benefit-greedy left and govt actually considers it!!
    Why not read WHO advice? It allays a lot of the ramped up fear.
    Assuming as ever that this will not make it to publication but hey…so what?

  49. Chris
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    The government should have been testing and tracing, isolating those who have come into contact with a positive confirmed case. Only by testing can one have an accurate picture of ACTUAL disease occurrence, its spread and death rates due to CV, and only by tracing contacts and movements can one have hoped to contain the spread. Excellent article by Richard North on this on eureferendum website.

    There is wildly irresponsible reporting with inaccurate figures being shouted about, resulting in inflated figures for death rates being reported by the media. Yes, the death rate on the Diamond Princess was high but this was a closed environment with mainly an elderly population aboard on a cruise. That death rate figure should not be quoted as the average in the general population.

    I believe the media and some politicians have behaved disgracefully, ratcheting up fear in the population and leading to panic buying. To tell the population that part of it have to go into a 4 month lockdown is utter stupidity, in my view, and of course it has resulted in panic buying and empty shelves. People do not believe reassurances from politicians. Yes, some people are greedy, but a lot of people are not. The supermarkets too, insome cases, have been greedy, allowing people to carry off packets and packets of toilet rolls. They should have put on limits much earlier, the minute the 4 month isolation fear mongering was started. I am pleased that some supermarkets have now set aside special times for the self isolating people to have access to the shops, and apparently going to give them preference for delivery slots (if any actually become available).

    The current “cure” to try to prevent the spread of disease is worse than the disease itself and the direction that Boris and his team of “experts” is heading will bring the country to its knees. The crippling of the economy is the greatest danger and it is principally “man-made”.

    Our government, in my view, is about to bring down our economy and destroy livelihoods on a devastating scale and in a frighteningly short time, and all because it apparently wants to reduce pressure on the NHS and because the virus has serious consequences for the elderly with pre-existing conditions. The previous serious epidemics that we have had of flu and viruses that particularly attack respiratory system e.g. Asian flu, MERS, SARS,
    also had the greatest death rates amongst the elderly, particularly those with pre-existing conditions, and other vulnerable groups. This is nothing new, and this cannot justify deliberately bringing the country to its knees. I am over 70 with pre-existing conditions and have witnessed previous disease control policies. Never has the government before deliberately taken steps to basically destroy bring down the economy and destroy so many livelihoods. It is madness, and sadly the current policy will not effectively prevent the spread of disease.

  50. Ian Pennell
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Dear Sir John Redwood,

    First of all, may I wish you and your family well, I trust that you all keep safe and in good health- both physically and financially. Secondly, the new Chancellor Rishi Sunak has risen to the challenge posed by the Economic Crisis that Enforced Closure of large parts of great Britain PLC will entail.

    You cannot close down huge areas of the Economy and require folk to stay at home without bringing about the worst Recession in living memory: As you rightly point out discretionary spending by the general public will fall to zero so assuming that this accounts for 40% of the economy that means a 40% drop in GDP for however long the economy remains in lock-down. Government plans to bail out businesses and people who lose their jobs will counterract that- but at a cost to the National Debt of 40% of GDP times the proportion of the year the Economy is locked down. The Credit Ratings agencies might not like that given that our National Debt is 85% of GDP (a proportion that will also increase with a deep Recession), the result could eventually be higher borrowing costs.

    Ordering half the workforce to stay at home, to stop producing goods and services (though for sure some people can work from home) will cause a big Supply Shock. If you just compensate people and businesses for lost wages and incomes without addressing the Supply Problem you will get some serious Inflation.

    There is therefore a possibility that, in a month or two, as this Coronavirus Lock-down goes on we will have a combination of Recession and higher Inflation. This will require business- friendly policies to treat as well as increasing the value of the Pound through higher Interest rates to forestall Inflation. The international Credit Ratings Agencies will not allow the borrowing needed to stop a deep Recession and firms going bankrupt.

    This means Quantitative Easing will be needed to raise the sums required to stop a very deep Recession BUT to stop this adding to Inflation both sharply higher Interest Rates plus buying Precious Commodity Shares will be needed to back up Sterling: The buying of Precious Commodity Shares must come from existing money in the Economy so as not to increase the Money Supply too much at a time of Inflation- the new money has to be backed up. A Land Value Tax is on high-value property is the least economically-damaging of taxes (and politicially tolerable to the electorate) and can be imposed for a few years to raise the funds needed to buy gold, silver and platinum shares in order to back up the Pound and (eventually) pay for Boris Johnson’s infrastructure investments and much-needed Public Spending (if Interest Rates have to be put up to control Inflation the interest on the National Debt will be much higher and Higher Borrowing for Investment will not be such a good idea).

    When all this is over, it is likely that further spending reductions may be required to restore fiscal sanity- Foreign Aid, the Civil Service and Quangos could all be slashed without too much electoral upset!

    Ian Pennell

    • Mark
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

      Mostly very good and perceptive analysis, with which I agree. I’m not sure I agree that a Land Value tax will prove much of a solution. To fund it, those liable have to have income, or be able to sell assets. It is hard to see that there will be a ready market of buyers domestically, because it implies they have ready cash for at the least a deposit: asset values are likely to plummet. The tax would serve to put additional downward pressure on property values, exacerbating the solvency problems for banks, and the forced liquidation would largely benefit foreign buyers with cash (read China).

      I think we are going to have to tear up ideas that we can further impoverish the economy in pursuit of a zero carbon goal. We will need to restore our ability to earn a living internationally, and to do more to feed ourselves: we can’t afford to be burning crops as fuels on the pretext it will lower global temperature by a femto- or nano-Kelvin, or to be running a large balance of payments deficit funded by selling and mortgaging assets abroad.

    • ed2
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 1:47 am | Permalink

      ou cannot close down huge areas of the Economy and require folk to stay at home without bringing about the worst Recession in living memory:

      control and power games is even more important for these people. It makes you wonder what they have been really getting up to that we don’t know about?

  51. Anonymous
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Government advice needs to be for people to keep themselves safe (out of A&E)

    In any lock down no using chainsaws, getting up on ladders to fix that tile on the roof. Keep off the bicycle. Minimise driving and DRIVE CAREFULLY.

    No getting drunk etc…


    Hopefully gangstas have the message too and will be mindful of the pressures on the NHS and so stop stabbing each other. A young one of those will be on a ventilator before you too.

    They are already lowering the age at which you will be treated for CV in Italy to 60.

  52. glen cullen
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    According to the media everyman and his dog is going to get coronavirus and what’s happening in Italy will happen in the UK. All my colleagues and neighbours are worried, worried with fear of what they are seeing on BBC and Sky news

    Until I inform them that with a population of 1.4million across our county borough there are only 32 cases…..that’s right 32 cases

    • ed2
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 4:07 am | Permalink

      The Italians have said 99% of those who died had other illnesses. So they are just rigging it. How do we know what actually killed them?

  53. outsider
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Dear Sir John, Thank you for this post. As ever, you provide a valuable lifeline without hysteria.
    So far, measures have concentrated on the problem of meshing epedemiological projections with the limitations of the NHS. In addition, more attention should now be paid to measures to keep the economy working, beyond simply propping up people and business finances by creating money.
    Most basically, we need to reduce the risks of normal life somewhat by supplying anyone who wants them with the simplest kind of disposable plastic gloves and the most effective (or least ineffective) face masks that can be mass produced at short notice – using the same tactics used for ventilators.
    The plastic gloves would require minimum retooling to make, say ,a billion a month. Distribution might incur toilet-roll style panic and hoarding. This could be overcome by our Government buying direct with taxpayers’ money and posting, say, a packet a fortnight to every household, starting with businesses that have to deal with the public (eg for shop staff) and then the cities. Masks may well become a permanent business if the British finally adopt the oriental habit of wearing them as normal for winter rush hour commuting.

  54. Ian @Barkham
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    The Government request if we are to get a grip on this situation we should avoid travel, avoid large gatherings, and carryout social distancing.

    My Nephew a Vicar in South London was required to officiate at a funeral at his church yesterday. Over 100 mourners turned up. A sizable church, yet repeated request for social distancing were ignored.

    How do we get a grip when it is considered that the discipline needed is seen to refer to some sectors and not others?

    As someone remarked on an earlier on one of Sir John’s blogs, having children ‘at home’ means for most of them lets go out and socialize with our friends, we might be a carriers but ‘hey ho’ we can and pass the virus on to the families that have the vulnerable to look after. You get the feeling they are putting in practice the preaching’s of the little Swedish girl with her ‘Extinction Rally’ calls. The World is the oldies fault let’s get…..

  55. Chris
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    An article by James Delingpole on the studies of Chloroquin and its reported effectiveness in the treatment and prevention of Corona virus. He suggest why the pharmaceutical companies seem reluctant to push this, and instead wait for a vaccine (which may well only be ready after the event). questions should be asked, and attention paid to the fast tracking with regard to Chloroquin by President Trump:

  56. Graham Wheatley
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    Sir John,

    I would respectfully suggest that you take time from your schedule to watch a 2005 film called ‘V for Vendetta”. There are many, many parallels between the plot-line and what is happening in both this country and globally, today.

    You could not invent a better way of ruining a country’s economy and destroying the fabric of society, than what we are voluntarily doing at present.

    It would appear that the main symptom of C.19 is actually ‘madness’.
    Or perhaps we are all living in a bigger version of “The Truman Show” ?

  57. The Prangwizard
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    This is manna for the likes of XR and the green movement. Their demands have been brought to pass without lifting a finger.

    When things settle down expect them to put pressure on our green obsessed leaders to continue with severe control of people’s movement and consuming habits and our general freedoms and just watch government comply.

  58. Faministista
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    “The Twin Cities” or “The Occupational Hazard of a Female Itinerant Independent Will Maker”
    It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
    We had everything before us, we had nothing before us,
    We were all going direct to Heaven, We were all going direct the other way – in short, the period “

  59. ian
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    I fear that the quick fix of three months the government and robber barons have in mind might not be the end of C19, I would look at a two-year plan as a backup one where peoples pension and saving are put first and turn to cash, the government must put people first.

    I would put a plan forward for you that I have in mind but I know the Robber Barons would not like it along with your sleeve.

  60. Chris
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for your interesting comments. Am sceptical that epidemiology is sufficiently advanced to merit being called a science. I suspect it may be a case of garbage in garbage out, and little better than common sense and mental arithmetic. Long term projections could be pessimistic due to medical research, understated infections without symptoms, and unknown immunity.
    Will be interesting to look back on all of this in a year’s time. I suspect there will be a lot to be learnt. Silver lining could be better knowledge that reduces the approx half million flu deaths per annum worldwide.

    • Chris
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

      This post above is not from me, the regular Chris, who has posted on this site for some years.

      • Fred H
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 10:48 am | Permalink

        add your surname initial or something to differentiate.

  61. a-tracy
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    John, I want to thank you for maintaining this site at this time, it gives much needed calm measured commentary from you that I really appreciate.

    The BBC are beginning to annoy me how did “Social distancing would be needed for “at least half of the year” form the headline “Social distancing may be needed for ‘most of year’!

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 11:42 am | Permalink


  62. Iago
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    Flight from Beijing arrives Heathrow at 18.45. Who governs this country? China, the EU?

    • Fred H
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

      leave it parked off the runway…..

    • a-tracy
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      I hope they’re all being quarantined in a hotel for two weeks. Same with all those returning from Spain or France whose leaders seem to be in a complete state of panic.

  63. Iain Gill
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    Well I listened to the chancellor
    Not impressed
    He has missed too many people out who need help
    So big business is being helped
    Permanent PAYE staff are being helped, being helped regardless of their savings.
    Folk long term unemployed are being helped.
    Freelancers, of whatever sector, everything from musicians to IT staff are most certainly not being helped. Whether they are working through a personal service company, umbrella company, or sole trader. Many normally have large gaps between engagements, it’s an accepted part of being a freelancer, any who were already in such a gap when this started are in particularly bad position now. Any towards the end of an engagement are never going to find a new one now. And mostly they are not going to be able to fall back on the social security system because they have modest savings which prevent them from being entitled to claim.
    This is not the only group of people who have been hit. Those living on their savings, who have been drawing down on money held in shares which have been devalued, or held in other savings which will be devalued by all this as the currency devalues. Hit big time.
    I think this stuff needs addressing.
    Let freelancers claim all unemployment benefits regardless of savings. Let them claim unemployment benefits regardless of owning a modest personal service company. Let them claim it immediately with no time waits. Increase child allowance significantly. Give child food vouchers to all children, especially infants who were getting free meals before these events.
    So, although the chancellor has been worrying about doing something that is easy to implement, he has missed too many people out who have children to feed and are as scared and in trouble as any other.
    It does also highlight that government has no real links to the freelancer community, and does not understand it.
    Please pass these messages on. Thanks.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

      Or give freelancers a proportion of their average earnings over the last 3 or 5 years, including those who have swapped between perm and freelance during this time.

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 4:04 am | Permalink

      It is down to us being paid to donate to food banks. I am still paying my gym instructor and pub and will do so as long as I can.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 7:13 am | Permalink

        so you want freelancers to be poor enough to need food banks while permanent staff with much larger savings have been bailed out?

        dont be silly

  64. Martyn G
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    Meanwhile, here am I, isolated at home to find today that on-line shopping with major stores has pretty much broken down. I tried on the store I occasionally use for home deliveries to find that I must now wait 4 weeks for delivery. I suppose I can always grass or find someone to go shopping for me. At this stage, it seems that all normality in shopping has broken down into ‘me, me, I want’ heading the queue and to hell with anyone else.

    • zorro
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

      COVID 19 has nothing on starvation….


  65. Iain Gill
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    and the medic and procurement leaders in the NHS are calling out the claim that there is enough personal protection kit in the system as BS

    simply not good enough to say its in the system and getting moved to the right places when it simply is not

  66. steve
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 7:29 pm | Permalink


    A well written and pertinent article.

    However a concern people have right now is not being able to procure essential everyday items, largely due to the shameful antics of the I’m alright Jack mob, and, it must be said to some extent the supermarkets exploiting the scenario.

    I’d have preferred Government to come up with something to stop and hopefully prosecute selfish greed buyers, and order supermarkets to stock their shelves with such timing as to accommodate those who can only shop after work.

    It is scandalous that those who do not have to work are allowed to hog the lot for themselves and without a care for anyone else.

    I wouldn’t say I was a strictly religious person, but from what I have seen there will surely have to be many a judgement for gluttony waiting.

    Shame on them, if like the rest of us they only took what they needed there wouldn’t be such distress caused to innocent people and their families.

    What have we become ? God help us.

    It’s a bloody disgrace quite frankly.

    • rose
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

      Is it gluttony or are they selling it on? Our shop, which didn’t have the problem, now does, and says they are seeing faces they have never seen before.

    • Norman
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 3:03 am | Permalink

      It cannot be helped. Who are we to judge whether they are stocking-up simply to prepare for 2 or 3 weeks self-isolation (there being virtually no delivery slots available) or providing also for house bound relatives or neighbours. If it can’t be fixed voluntarily, there’ll have to be rationing, to ensure no-one starves. Getting angry with people for being prudent on behalf of vulnerable loved ones is not the answer.

  67. ian
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    The government received information on what to do about C19 at the end of Jan 2020 it was most probably wrong on what to tell people and how to handle the Crisis with a quick fix.

    I would have to say, there is no quick fix, this going to take time,

  68. Fred H
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    Can we start a book (a bet for those who don’t know) on the most posts in tomorrow’s diary –
    Bets close at 10am.
    No cheating suspending or deleting Sir John……tsk tsk.

    2-1 Lifelogic.
    3-1 Martin
    4-1 Andy

  69. Chris
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    I think this comment by Richard North, referring to Lancet article, is hugely important:
    “In most scenarios, highly effective contact tracing and case isolation is enough to control a new outbreak of COVID-19 within 3 months”.

    From the Scientific evidence supporting the government response to COVID-19.

    So why didn’t they do it?”

    • Iain Gill
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

      didnt have enough test kits

  70. zorro
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    Dear JR,

    I would like you to pass on my thanks to Boris for saving us from the ‘invisible menace’ by shutting down all pubs/restaurants and cafes and denying us a source of food and forcing us to queue up at supermarkets to browse empty shelves and put us in close contact with hundreds of people instead of patronising responsible pubs/restaurants outside of the capital which had plenty of space.

    Great job Boris as we all know that it is impossible to catch COVID 19 in supermarket queues. I know that you want to protect the elderly so I want to see each constituency MP queueing to view empty supermarket shelves in solidarity with us. This will not end well for the people who are imposing this on us….


  71. zorro
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    No milk, no eggs, no bread no nothing in the supermarkets….


  72. Iain Gill
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    Oh and another thing, get all those nurses working for ATOS doing benefits assessments for the DWP back in the hospitals! forget about benefits assessments for a while.

    (c) the bleeding obvious

  73. Yossarion
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    How about an amnesty for NHS staff parking so those that can use their own transport and therefore not have to be pushed together on public transport.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

      there was an announcement that NHS staff car parking charges were being waived for the duration, cannot remember whether I was reading NHS England or NHS Wales announcement at the time, or maybe just one hospital?

  74. JimW
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    Chloroquine. The Uk govt has stock-piled it since before banning its export on 26 Feb. It works.

    • ed2
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 1:55 am | Permalink

      Chloroquine. The Uk govt has stock-piled it since before banning its export on 26 Feb. It works.

      What happened to the Tamiflu?

  75. ian
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    What you need is a Master planer with over a third of your economy shutting down by the end of next month. The tax system is waste paper and the Micky mouse markets are on their last legs, how the banking system going to save the peoples money and saving so they can still buy all their needs on the internet and kept businesses open and exports going. Don’t let the markets wipe out the real economy that you will still have.

  76. Mike Wilson
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

    So my son, working 80 hours a week to build up his personal training business over the last year, finds himself with the gym he rents space in closed and his customers abandoning him. And what help is there for him? NOTHING. As always the self employed get nothing.

    • a-tracy
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      I read Mike they’ll get Universal Credit, not sure if it’s based on their previously declared income which it should be.

  77. Ronald Olden
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

    It’s too late now. The damage is done. They should have paid people aged over 50, and various other vulnerable people to isolate until the virus had completed its’ course through the rest of the population, then exposed the more vulnerable ones a few at a time with the oldest people left till last.

    Total lives lost could have been less than 50,000 and most them would have been people with limited life expectancy.

    This however, is typical of statist socialism. They think they can control and protect everyone and everything, and end up causing ruin.

    There’s no exit strategy from where we are now. Nearly everyone will have to be exposed to this virus in the end. We’ll be in near lock down for a year till a vaccine is available, then for all we know a new strain will appear.

    Gradually people will refuse to put up with it, and quietly rebel against this Stalinist regime and the controls will disintegrate.

    The country could end up in economic ruin. In the end this disaster will have extended a few thousand lives for few extra years but set the economy back decades.

  78. Waiting for Tuesday
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    Chief Economist of Panmure Gordon, Sky News tonight, he said firmly with emphasis”It’s easy, all supermarkets have to do is to limit each person to two of each item”

    • Fred H
      Posted March 21, 2020 at 10:44 am | Permalink

      two to three weeks too late – in the meantime the supermarkets have sold out, making ooodles of money and needing to take on staff – probably essential workers now laid off…
      Unacceptable face of capitalism if ever we saw it.

      • margaret howard
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

        Fred H

        The supermarket have sold out due to the greed of so many of our citizens. Though no friend of capitalist or capitalism to blame the supermarkets is grossly unfair. They have done a wonderful job keeping us supplied under extremely difficult circumstances.

        Taking on new staff will be a huge help to those people who have lost so much of their income and will be grateful to be doing something worthwhile instead of sitting at home.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 21, 2020 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

          Ineresting how you link a dislike of capitalism with the plentifull supply of food by the various supermarkets.
          History shows all socialist societies end up starving millions of their own citizens.
          As one commentator said socialism starts with great intentions of equality annd workers freedom, but ends with you having to eat your own pets to survive.

  79. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 1:47 am | Permalink

    The closedown mustn’t last beyond the end of May or the country will be ruined:
    – Grants £20 billion
    – Loans £330 billion; probable default rate at least 10% – £33 billion
    – Paying most of laid off workers wages:
    – 10 million workers x £8/hour subsidy x 1800 hours per annum = £144 billion pa

    Total annual cost getting on for £200 billion, which is 9% of GDP.

    What do we NEED to spend money on urgently?
    – Getting the number of ICU (critical care) beds – plus the ventilators and trained staff and protective clothing for them – up to the German level, which per 100,000 of population is four times our level. Germany has a negligible Coronavirus death rate.

    I do hope that you will nag the Secretary of State for Health incessantly for reports on the production of ventilators and the availability of critical care beds.

  80. Save Our Pubs
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 3:55 am | Permalink

    A huge boost to public morale would be a promise to save our pubs. Including country ones. Give us something to look forward to.


    I have posted the money I would have spent this month through the door of my local which was closed responsibly before the lock down.

  81. ed2
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 4:25 am | Permalink

    The Governments of the world are laughably evil

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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