Letter to Matt Hancock

Dear Matt

         When you briefed MPs this week you stressed that the government does not have all the answers and is open to good ideas from colleagues that could alleviate the problems emerging. MPs are well placed to pick up details of what is going wrong or what needs government help or clarification.  There are four main  areas where I would like to offer some suggestions.

  1. The need for volunteers to help where services are overwhelmed. We have the promise that many people in jobs where the business has effectively been closed will be able to keep their jobs pending re-opening thanks to  pay mainly from the state. We could ask some of them to spend part of their time helping in the community.  Immediately we need more people capable of doing shopping for the elderly or self  isolated. Maybe some could be lent to logistics and food companies  and food retailers under strain from extra demand. I doubt there would need to  be any compulsion, with many companies and individuals in enforced idleness being willing to help in positive and appropriate ways. There would need to be definition of what should be unpaid volunteer work and what work should be paid for by the temporary alternative employer.
  2. The need to match the scheme for the employed in affected areas with a top up income from the Tax and National Insurance system for the self employed.  The Tax Authorities know who they are, what they earned last year, and the number of their  bank account. The self employed should be able to notify the authorities of the extent of the downturn of their income from turnover loss and get a tax rebate or reimbursement to top their income up to 80% of past levels as long as they were still offering their service and relying on it for their livelihood. Any self declarations that turned out to be false would result in subsequent tough penalties and their publication.
  3. Food supply. It looks as if the main problem is aggressive hoarding, with stories of people buying abnormally large quantities and buying up new freezers to store it in. On top will be some genuine increase in supermarket demand as people who before had some of their meals out in a staff canteen or at events and working meals  instead eat all those meals at home. This latter does not expand the total demand for food but means diverting food from catering trade wholesalers to supermarket retailers immediately. The government should toughen its advice to supermarkets to impose appropriate controls on volume buying, and state that the police will stand behind the supermarkets in enforcing sensible measures to limit greedy behaviour. If necessary the Bill should grant enforcement powers for temporary supermarket ration rules.
  4. Greater conversion to on line and remote solutions to service provision. You  have done a great job persuading the NHS to do much more on line or  by phone at a time when exposing ill people to others who may have this virus would not be helpful. I would suggest that  state education makes  a more concerted effort to put educational materials and lessons on line so this generation of GCSE and A level pupils do not miss out on the remaining weeks of their courses and formal revision.  There would need to be help for those pupils who lack internet access at home through the loan of machines or opening school IT areas for their attendance with suitable segregation of pupils.

I will set out more detail behind these proposals in letters to the lead secretary of State in each case. I am writing to you in the first instance knowing how central you are to the total policy and responding to your invitation.

Yours ever

John

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221 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    To Matt Hancock:-

    Why on earth did you say the NHS was “very well prepared for this pandemic” when the exact reverse is clearly the truth? Did you (foolishly) really believe this when you said it or were you lying? Why have you still been so slow even now to get it prepare, why did the store of emergency pandemic supplies not have a kit of tooling and vital parts etc. to enable more ventilators and other such emergency equipment to be manufactured quickly and locally? Why has the government idiotically chosen to accelerate the spread of this infection (by failing to act earlier). This especially when it is very clear the NHS is not remotely in a position to cope? This rather than to do everything humanly to slow the infection as much as possible to buy more time?

    You have had two months notice of this event but it had largely been wasted. The government could easily have slowed the infection by say another two months had the government acted sensibly and early enough to give the NHS more time.

    What part of 33% daily increase in deaths (which if continued compounds to 13,000 in two weeks time and and 730,000 in 4 weeks time did you and the government “experts” not grasp? With many more than this needing significant hospital care.

    Reply The Sec of State reports what he is told by the senior officials running the NHS. He does not make things up for himself or intentionally lie. All his statements are hammered out with those running the system. The NHS did have stored supplies of anti epidemic equipment and clothing.He soon asked them to increase these supplies substantially in view of the possible scale of this outbreak. He has led the calls for more supplies and the Government made clear there would be plenty of money to buy whatever was available.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 6:40 am | Permalink

      The only really vital things to do immediately is to delay the growth of new infections, to increase the capacity of the NHS (and knowledge of best treatments for this virus) and to get a vaccine developed for this appalling disease a.s.a.p.

      Everything else should take second place.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 8:57 am | Permalink

        Everything?

        Including achieving the most distant and hostile possible relationship with the European Union?

        If so then we really have learnt something as a country.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 22, 2020 at 11:31 am | Permalink

          Which member of the Government has said they want
          ” the most distant and hostile possible relationship with the EU ”
          More of your made up nonsense Martin.

          • Hope
            Posted March 22, 2020 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

            JR, we read today 7 and 1/2 thousand people have entered the country from Iran, Italy and Spain last week, and continue to do so, without quarantine or testing. Please tell us why and do you agree it makes a nonsense of the govt policy to lock us all down to prevent the spread?

        • matthu
          Posted March 22, 2020 at 11:45 am | Permalink

          You clearly equate an expressed wish to end up as an independent, self-governing country within four and a half years of a referendum with achieving the most distant and hostile possible relationship with the European Union?

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 22, 2020 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

            No, I’m just responding to what commenters say, such as no to every single agreement possible with the European Union, and an aggressive refusal to compromise over anything, notably fishing arrangements.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 22, 2020 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

            Yet again I ask, give us examples of your claim we want the most distant and hostile relationship possible with the EU.
            It really is time to put up or shut up Martin.
            Negotiations are continuing.
            Nothing has yet been decided.

          • jerry
            Posted March 22, 2020 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

            @MiC; Compromise has to run both ways. If you do not want Brexit to end up on WTO terms then best you direct your complaints to the EC, not those who are fully prepared to agree sensible FTA’s.

        • Hope
          Posted March 22, 2020 at 11:45 am | Permalink

          The previous predictions and warnings over Bird Flu, CJD hiv, aids etc were all over blown and never came to fruition to the extent of predictions.

          Johnson has chopped and changed his strategy in weeks already. He could have stayed with his quarantine and testing like those from the cruise ships sent to Liverpool to slow,down or prevent spread of virus. He changed to allow everyone in from hotspots like Italy and Iran under “herd immunity” that other experts decried as rubbish. Now he has changed back when the spread has occurred!

          Therefore as I wrote before the govt. deliberately got us infected knowing some would die under the second strategy.

          Now he has changed, again, to lock us all down without knowing when it will stop, when those infected who have got better can return to work and no idea whether his economic strategy will work. Still no mass testing to attack sources of the virus.

          It is starting to appear to me this is more about Tory Govt saving its arse than wanting the failing of public services like the NHS graphically brought home by their mass immigration policy over ten years while lying to the public to cut to tens of thousands.

          NHS was overwhelmed before Christmas before the virus. It was clear at this time there was a problem in China, that security services would have alerted the govt to, why did it take so long for action to be taken? And why change strategy so often if based on science li,e it is claimed each week when changing the strategy? The consequences of panicky buying, not sure to go out or not is of the governments making and failing.

      • Glenn Vaughan
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 9:03 am | Permalink

        Lifelogic

        Thanks for highlighting the importance of finding a vaccine to conquer the coronavirus. We wouldn’t have known if you hadn’t told us!

        I suggest you go away and spread the word via your own blog, then spend the rest of today responding to your own message and give the remainder of us a well-earned break.

      • Man of Kent
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 11:49 am | Permalink

        Absolutely agree LL .
        Do see. WUWT – Daily Coronavirus Graph .

        The statistician Willis Eschenbach presents the daily figures from government sources to show which countries are winning and which losing the battle .

        His take on the way the US is going is very relevant to us too .

        The NHS is unprepared with ICU beds , equipment and mass testing facilities .
        The sooner these can all be provided the quicker we can model on Korea and just treat the sick not isolate the healthy .

        Get the economy going again and save the hundreds of billions we are now paying to keep us all in hibernation .
        Much much cheaper in the short and long term .

        So pay double the price for ventilators , test kits ,get sufficient capacity in the NHS so we can get back to work .

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 22, 2020 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

          Indeed interesting.

    • BOF
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      Reply to Reply

      Does that mean Sir John that the lies, or incompetence, was that of the senior officials? Does nothing change?

    • zorro
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 8:48 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply – I see that the French helpfully threatened to close their border with us if we did not lockdown and also confiscated 150,000 face masks destined for the UK. Who needs friends like that? I am sure that they are busily fining their own citizens for breaking curfew rather than stopping people illegally entering the UK from their country……

      zorro

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 10:40 am | Permalink

        What would you recommend if the situation were reversed?

        That is, if France was doing as little as the UK is while we laboured together, and there were a consignment of much needed equipment heading there?

        • Edward2
          Posted March 22, 2020 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

          France’s infection rate per million of population is three times that of the UK.
          We should really be closing our border with them.

        • Sir Joe Soap
          Posted March 22, 2020 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

          So that free movement of goods shouldn’t be so free any more? You’ve changed your tune.

        • a-tracy
          Posted March 22, 2020 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

          Look Martin, we were good EU citizens, allowing Europe to spread manufacturing capacity from our Country to other EU counties, we were told we would be getting most car parts from Slovenia or Poland and Germany for example. As lots of our jobs were exported from cable and loom manufacturers and others we became far too dependent on other Countries to supply our Essential needs like face masks for goodness sakes, why didn’t we just support British manufacturers on essential NHS products, now the UK needs to quickly and vastly step up UK manufacturing we are still the 9th biggest manufacturer so we should be able to do this to make our own ppe as other nations have suddenly gone nationalist to protect just their own. But don’t just sit and expect us to take this as UK bad EU good when they’re the ones closing doors to exports, I hope they never get our orders again.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 23, 2020 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

            I see that Russia has offered its military medics to Italy.

            Friendship between nations is a good thing.

    • APL
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      Lifelogic: “Why on earth did you say the NHS was “very well prepared for this pandemic” ”

      Because it was until the feckless started to panic.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

        Rubbish they already have a lack of protective equipment for medical staff and have about 1/10 of the incubators they will need.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 22, 2020 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

          Please a lack of testing capacity even for the medical staff. Plus it has not even really get started yet.

          • APL
            Posted March 22, 2020 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

            Lifelogic: “and have about 1/10 of the incubators”

            What do they want incubators for?

            Lifelogic: “Rubbish they already have a lack of protective equipment for medical staff ”

            Incorrect. There is plenty of protective equipment for staff, just not enough for an every eventuality especially not an epidemic of this nature.

            No operation subject to peaks of demand should operate at the capacity necessary to accommodate the maximum possible demand all the time.

            You are always telling us the NHS is a rationing operation. Because free at the point of delivery means waiting lists and delay.

            Well, Guess what.

            At least be consistent.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 22, 2020 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

          Ventilators!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 9:19 am | Permalink

      Thanks for the reply – well either he was misled by the NHS top brass (and he simply did not understand how lacking in capacity and kit the NHS was) or he was deliberately misleading people. If the former who was misleading him so badly?

      Why on earth was the Mayor of London allowed to say, just a few days ago:- “There is no risk in using the Tube or buses or other forms of public transport or going to a concert.” Adding that he could say this – “Because I rely upon the advice I receive from Public Health England the chief medical officer and the advice is you’re not going to catch it if you’re washing your hands regularly.”

      Why was this idiotic statement not corrected by Public Health England or the government ministers promptly.

      If you can smell someone else’s cigarette smoke or their vape you are breathing in air that had been in their lungs. On the crowded tube you are breathing in air from very many people’s lungs.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 9:37 am | Permalink

        The advice from nearly all the medics and experts in Italy is to lock down so as to reduce the demand on the hugely over loaded medical services.

        Dr Antonio Pesenti, head of Lombardy intensive critical care unit said many of the young people there are seriously unwell. Half of them are under 65 some as young as 20. The growth rate of the number of deaths in Italy is now below the UKs.

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

        Well I see he’s come out this morning on Marr with a change of tune. Everyone should now stay at home.

        Whether the young and gullible in London will see this as him being “got at” by older whiter cleverer males, or not, we will see.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 10:08 am | Permalink

      It would be comforting to know some more details about how the NHS and social care system is preparing itself to alter logistically, given the nature and scale of this problem e.g. will it still be possible for nursing agency staff to flit between working in CV infected hospitals and care homes in the community in the same week?

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      NHS logistics logistics!!!

      -Infected staff taking transport home?
      -Nurses going between facilities holding old and vulnerable people in and out of the community?
      -No appropriate testing regime?
      -Insufficient PPE equipment?

      This is the ultimate test for the NHS organisation.
      It lives or dies by its actions in the coming weeks and needs to get its act together NOW.

      • jerry
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

        @SJS; “This is the ultimate test for the NHS organisation.”

        No, it is the last chance for this govt, if not the Tory party.

    • jerry
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

      @JR reply; “He [Matt Hancock] does not make things up for himself or intentionally lie.”

      Well I’m not so sure, just watched the recording of last Thursdays QT, this was recorded a day before the chancellor announced his extra package of help, during QT Hancock stated that the govt had given access to SSP to all those who need it – that was untrue on Thursday and wasn’t really what was announced on Friday either, even if self isolating due to being infected by or recovering from Covid-19 a self employed persons can not access SSP. As the minister for social Care surely he knows what sick people are entitled to, obviously not!..

      No wonder that so me people are ignoring the govts advice, if this crisis is as serious as the govt want us all to believe just JUST THROW THE RULE BOOK OUT THE WINDOW!

      • anon
        Posted March 24, 2020 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

        Why not have a Universal income so when others fall through the cracks, think disabled, but disqualifed for any number of reasons. They then get some help with minimal bureaucracy and no means testing.

        Also to our US cousins , you need to push for a US social healthcare system, which has got your back when your down & out and least able to cope.

  2. Anonymous
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    Or we can still reverse the government action before any further destruction is done.

    Get everybody back to work. Pay people to look after vulnerable groups who will be put into isolation. (See. I AM being positive !)

    Far cheaper than sacking half the workforce and forcing the rest to stay at home whilst the government pays for it all.

    My cousin was told her estate agency had to close because it’s too dangerous for everyone to go out in Covid 19… so now she’s manning a til in a supermarket instead… WTF ????

    I urge everyone to read Peter Hitchens today.

    https://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2020/03/peter-hitchens-is-shutting-down-britain-with-unprecedented-curbs-on-ancient-liberties-really-the-bes.html#comments

    We are being had over. This communist switch over resembles so much what the money shifters on super yachts/private islands with Thunbergist daughters wanted and The One Show has already started reporting improvements in wildlife… after just a few days ? Really ???

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      I understand that President Macron called Alexander Johnson and said, to the effect that unless his Government started to take the necessary measures to suppress this contagion, then France – and I assume other European Union countries, would be forced to close their borders to the UK.

      I did warn of an effective blockade some days ago, if effective steps were not taken.

      It’s only to be expected.

      • Fred H
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 9:49 am | Permalink

        Lets hope it lasts 2 years…

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 9:54 am | Permalink

        Martin – When I write I am talking about the whole western response to this disease – not just our own government’s.

        • Anonymous
          Posted March 22, 2020 at 10:21 am | Permalink

          We’re being told what to do – exactly as we would have been in the EU.

          Please read my Peter Hitchens link for an explanation as to why the international response is wrong.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 22, 2020 at 10:43 am | Permalink

            I broadly like Hitchens, but he apparently does not grasp science and maths too well.

            If he did then he would not write as he does.

          • hefner
            Posted March 22, 2020 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

            I read Peter Hitchens’ blog. It is the comment of one person out of 66 millions in the UK. The guy does not have particular qualifications to push in one direction or another. But I can understand that people unable to make their own mind need a guru.
            And given how PH has twisted and turned in his own life, it is just a question of time before he changes his mind. Furthermore at the ToS, he knows on what side his crumpets are buttered.

          • Anonymous
            Posted March 22, 2020 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

            Martin – We are at war and in war people die.

            There will be NO NHS if the economy dies – which it will by the choices we have made.

            Death by economic depression of healthy people will be many MANY more than by Covid of those with weakened immune systems.

            The fact that this assessment has not even been made fills me with no confidence at all that we are thinking of the long term nor the bigger picture.

            There will be no future for the young and the old that do survive will wish they hadn’t.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 23, 2020 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

            Only three thousand odd died in China, and with a population of one and a half billion too, anon.

    • Peter Wood
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      It is indeed worthy of greater investigation. My first question was ‘ how many Covid19 patients are currently receiving intensive care in hospital’ . My effort to find it only produced this from the Guardian:

      The NHS and government have not published any figures showing how many people with Covid-19 are receiving critical care, even though Public Health England (PHE) now collects them each day from all 134 acute hospital trusts in England.

      Is the intensive care capability of the NHS under stress, we are told so? The NHS has 3,700 adult critical care beds, according to the FT. How many are occupied by Covid19 patients?

      I want to believe what the government tells me, and heed its advice, but there are questions that need answering.

      • zorro
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 8:53 am | Permalink

        Indeed, all they need to do is answer the question to alleviate suspicion. What are the number of seasonal flu deaths so far?

        zorro

        • zorro
          Posted March 22, 2020 at 10:36 am | Permalink

          How many critical care beds or ICU beds are being used? The Minister claimed not to know on Marr…. Why not??

          This is critical information he should be regularly updated on by his Gold/Silver Command structure in his department. THere needs to be a lot more openness, honesty, integrity and transparency being shown than at the moment!

        • hefner
          Posted March 22, 2020 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

          Given that ‘regular’ flu is generally characterised by a number among the following symptoms: coughing, fever/feverish chills, diarrhoea, sore throat, headache, tiredness, vomiting, muscle aches, it is not straightforward to distinguish flu from Covid-19. It would seem that the only way to sort out one from the other is via a blood test that would show or not the presence of the crown-shaped virus.
          Given that in the UK only the worst cases (those actually being taken by hospitals) are getting blood tests, it is likely that the statistics are not fully representative and likely to be biased. Moreover ‘regular’ flu is not a disease to be systematically reported to Public Health England or any other national organisation. Therefore it would appear rather difficult to answer your question, even for the death cases, at least not before the end of the winter season 19-20 when the data will be collected and usually published.

          In contrast to the UK the number for the US are available from 1/10/2019 to 14/03/2020 on the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

      • zorro
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 8:55 am | Permalink

        There also seem to be a lot of ‘nurses’ on social media et al spending a lot of time influencing when perhaps they should be working in the hospital. That is if they are ‘nurses’ and not ‘keyboard warriors’ from another government department….

        zorro

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 9:38 am | Permalink

        Italy has very good figures on this. They are about two weeks ahead of the UK.

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 9:56 am | Permalink

        Why are they letting staff treat patients without the correct PPE and how are staff not dropping like flies without it ?

        • Anonymous
          Posted March 22, 2020 at 10:00 am | Permalink

          Stupid question. Incubation period.

          • zorro
            Posted March 22, 2020 at 10:37 am | Permalink

            It’s not a stupid question, and don’t try and belittle people. Who do you work for?

            zorro

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 9:24 am | Permalink

      This might be sensible if the NHS had the capacity to cope but they do not as yet. So it is better to delay as much as possible until they do. Hitchens (whom I often agree with) is surely wrong on this issue.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 9:25 am | Permalink

        Also in this delay period we might find some other treatments that improves survival rates & outcomes.

      • Know-Dice
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

        LL only history will tell us if this is an over reaction or not…

        But in the mean time surely it’s better to have something in place rather than do nothing?

    • acorn
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      Bloomberg summed it up in a lot less words: The Coronavirus Killed the Progressive Left The pandemic will continue to reshape politics and public opinion for the foreseeable future. (Google it)

      Meanwhile, Rishi said he is going to stick the bill for the “grant” element of his largesse on the Debt Management Office remit. The rest will be “loans” by the Treasury owned BoE, insured by the currency issuing Treasury. The bailout of the banks in 2008 was far far larger and the magic money tree took care of it off balance sheet.

    • forthurst
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

      Why does the government have a fixation on Europe when the disease has been contained in countries both large and small in the Far East? Are they too proud to take advice from people who would appear to be their intellectual superiors in problem solving?

      • forthurst
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

        If the government is serious about containment, why are international flights still arriving from disease hotspots? Are those arriving quarantined for two weeks?

    • jerry
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

      @Anonymous; You were doing so well, almost had everyone convinced that all the best medical brain in the world have got it all so wrong, but then you had to let rip with a conspiracy agenda in your last paragraph…

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    Given that we have only two science graduates in the current Cabinet: Alok Sharma (Physics/Electronics Salford) and Therese Coffey (Chemistry) is it any wonder the Government makes catastrophic easily foreseeable blunders as the above.

    These two are, I suppose, relatively sound (though neither are very impressive in general). They generally sensibly voted against measures to “prevent” climate change and for leaving the EU. But both still support the totally moronic HS2 project.

  4. Stephen Priest
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    Don’t get pressurised into ever more draconian methods. Every day Giuseppe Conte announces ever tighter restrictions in Italy and every day the death rate increases.

    And yes they have big queues at supermarket.

    Read David Blunkett’s letter today in the Telegraph.

    “It is in that spirit, and having dealt with the counter-terrorism measures required when I was home secretary from 2001, that I hope sincerely that the Government will not be pushed on a daily basis to feel that it has to do “something new” and “something more” in addition to the measures already announced.”

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      There is an incubation period of typically some days from infection.

      Then those who die typically do so after having been ill for some time, two or three weeks.

      So we would not expect to see an improvement in mortality for about a month after the stricter measures were introduced. In between they may well get worse.

      Please think things through.

      • Stephen Priest
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 9:02 am | Permalink

        I can assure you I do think things through.

        The first Italian “lock down” started in parts of Lombardy
        exactly 1 month ago yesterday. I have family in Piacenza
        one of the worst affected provinces.

        I watch RAI News from Itlay every morning. Do you really want to
        have to print a form out every time you step outside?

        I am glad that Boris has been taken advice from
        Sir Patrick Vallance Professor Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer
        rather than Piers Morgan

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 22, 2020 at 10:50 am | Permalink

          Perhaps the country should be following what Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore did successfully to suppress the epidemic?

          Why do you apparently assume that I want the country to copy Italy?

          I commented only on one aspect of their policy. We have no idea as to how well it is being enforced etc.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 22, 2020 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

          But by not delaying it, as far as humanly possible, it is clear that very many thousands will die who would not have died purely due to lack of NHS capacity and time to get that capacity in place!

        • Andy
          Posted March 22, 2020 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

          Nobody wants to print out a form every time they go outside.

          Do you want to risk not just your life but the lives of all of your family, friends and NHS staff every time you go outside?

          You might be reckless and irresponsible but be in no doubt that if you deliberately ignore the warning – just because you think you know better – then you are no better than a cold blooded killer if someone you know catches Covid-19 from you and dies as a result.

          • Fred H
            Posted March 22, 2020 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

            your histronics doesn’t help.

        • jerry
          Posted March 22, 2020 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

          @Stephen Priest; “Do you really want to have to print a form out every time you step outside?”

          If that is what it takes to beat this virus, filling in a simple form, giving some basic reasons why you need to be away from your designated property then why not.

          The only people who could possibly complain are those who consider all this a grand conspiracy, with actors from around the world all pretending to be ill with oxygen tents over their heads!

          Kids, don’t play the Covid-19 hospital game like you seen on TV, those are actors, if you try it you’ll suffocate….

          • APL
            Posted March 23, 2020 at 8:14 am | Permalink

            Jerry: “If that is what it takes to beat this virus, filling in a simple form ..”

            Yep, the NHS can stand down, the overworked doctors and nurses can all go home to a well deserves rest.

            Jerry’s got a form.

            Honestly, Jerry. That is such a silly thing to say.

            What we actually want is for the herd immunity to build to the extent that the virus dies out.

            There is a very good chance that self isolation will actually prolong the outbreak. As now you’ve got pockets of people with no immunity. As soon as they come out of isolation, they catch the virus.

          • jerry
            Posted March 23, 2020 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

            @APL; Your comment says far more about you that it does me, so it’s “silly” to want to minimise the death rate from a preventable virus…

          • APL
            Posted March 24, 2020 at 6:33 am | Permalink

            jerry: ” Your comment says far more about you that it does me, ”

            I have refrained from engaging you over the last couple of months and frankly, I haven’t missed our exchanges.

            What my comment says about me, is that if I think an idea is silly, I’ll call it out.

            Jerry: ” so it’s “silly” to want to minimise the death rate from a preventable virus…”

            It’s silly to think that an administrative form and the administrative organisation behind it will have any impact on the spread of the virus and the resulting death rate.

            It won’t.

            But in fifty years time, when this virus is long gone and the subject of discussion around a drink in an designated government assembly area, limited to no more than five people, and all carrying the government form giving permission to leave their own house. That bureaucracy will have quadrupled in size doing nothing but acting as a drag on the economic activity of the country.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

        Indeed.

  5. bill brown
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    Sir JR,

    thank oy very much this is exactly what is needed and it is needed now as well, before the economy comes to a complete halt.

  6. bill brown
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    Sir JR,

    This is exactly what is needed and as soon as possible before the economy comes to a complete halt and more people get ill

  7. Richard416
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    I should think all the hysterical panic buying must have boosted the economy, but it can’t last once the hoarders have got enough in to last the year, they should stop buying.

  8. Posted March 22, 2020 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    Yes to all of that. I’m wondering whether you have given any thought to the recovery period? What we’re all concerned about is that many changes might become permanent and it’s very difficult to foresee what aspects will be affected. This is of great importance to those of us who are using this closure to invest and refresh businesses.

  9. Mick
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    I’ve also a comment for Mr Hancock, my wife who is a infection control lead nurse for the NHS at the end of this week she will have put in over 80hrs work because of the covid-19 outbreak with little complaint apart from the dimwits who are emptying the supermarket shelves, I hope that when this virus is controlled and we start to get back to normality that the government and future governments treat the NHS with respect and pay them for what there worth with money and not words

    • Frances Truscott
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 7:39 am | Permalink

      Not dimwits if they know they cannot go out without risk.

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 10:22 am | Permalink

        Cyprus have temperature testing and gloves issued to all customers.

    • JoolsB
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      Exactly. It’s ridiculous and insulting that many front line NHS staff are paid less than the paper shufflers/jobsworths sitting in the back offices.

    • stred
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      Matt. Hard pressed NHS staff are working long shifts, possibly risking infection and then having to commute out of London and other large cities, using public transport, where cross infection is likely. Would it be a good idea to use the empty hotel rooms near hospitals for medical staff between shifts, providing the necessary washing facilities and food? Otherwise the staff are likely to become exhausted and sick themselves. The hotels would most likely be pleased to offer rooms at cost.

  10. Peter
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    Hancock’s Half Hour?

    Too much of this social isolation and the cry will go up :-
    ‘Stone me! What a life!’

    Everyday will be like a dull Sunday afternoon in the Railway Cuttings, East Cheam.

  11. Cheshire Girl
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    Excellent letter! You have addressed 4 very good points, where more should be done.

    Thank you for your constructive suggestions.

  12. Lifelogic
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    The government still talks of being four weeks behind Italy – who are they trying to fool, have they fooled themselves?

    They are quite wrong as usual they clearly do not understand numbers PPE types rarely do – the UK is just two weeks behind them. They reached 233 death on 7th March we reached it on 21st yesterday.

    No point at looking at positive tests number as this is not comparable. Death number are clearly a far better indicator. Furthermore we are still not even as locked down as Italy is so the infection is probably still spreading far more rapidly in the UK. The government seems to want to overtake them despite the NHS being totally unable to come. Perhaps the government thinks it is a race!

    • SM
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 7:51 am | Permalink

      LL: since you are still unable to even learn how to switch off ‘prescriptive text’ on your phone – despite your many qualifications – perhaps you could cease your endless criticism of anyone and everyone who does not do exactly what you want.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 8:44 am | Permalink

        I criticise them as it was very clear what should have been done weeks ago and many will die as a direct result of government inaction and Kahn’s foolishness in encouraging use of the “perfectly safe Tube”. Many lives can still be saved even now if they finally start to do the right thing.

        Very many more will die as a result than died when the fools in charge of the London Fire Service kept sending people back to their flats, long after it was very clear this was insane.

        I am trying to get the government to do the right things to save as many lives as possible.

        Oh and I think it is called “predictive” text rather than “prescriptive”?

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      There is interesting and important research coming out as we write.

      The virus is shown likely to propagate far more effectively in cold, dry, breezy conditions than in warm, humid, still ones.

      This may well account for the small number of cases in e.g. Indonesia, and have assisted containment in places such as Singapore.

      It would also explain why Switzerland and northern Italy are having more serious problems than say, Sicily.

      However, it may remain dangerous for many days on surfaces such as stainless steel and glass, and hang in the air as a viable aerosol for hours, so public hygiene measures will have to be strict.

      You only have to look at what happens to the smoke from someone vaping in a crowd to appreciate the risk.

      • stred
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

        Our Swiss relatives report that, despite having an excellent health service, meetings of more than five persons is banned and the same number going into a food shop is allowed. Non-compliance leads to a fine of 10,000 SF.
        In the UK all shops are open and people are still going into clothes shops trying on clothes and no doubt putting them back for the next idiot. The viewing pod on the big pole on Hove prom is still going up and down and people are crowding into parks. Maybe they are of the XR persuasion and are hoping that their elders will disappear and enable them to take over and shut everything down instead.

      • Fred H
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

        I agree there does seem to be a view that solid surfaces are a bigger risk. Door handles, knobs, car door handles, loo flush handles, possibly supermarket trolleys, baskets. Wherever practical shop doors should be left open, and alcohol/gel wiped several times a day.

        We can no longer ignore basic safety in touching things as we did.

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

        I am a key worker.

        It is so SO difficult to operate a sterile regime in my work. But we have to go to work or the country will really grind to a halt.

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

        Vaping should be banned.

      • Fred H
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

        when in Singapore the warm humid conditions are close to the rain forest..

  13. everyone knows
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 7:10 am | Permalink
    • Everhopeful
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      Yes..everyone should read it. But I dare say there are many in govt.who know this already.
      Establishment’s admiration for China has been apparent for many years and with a chance/excuse to emulate communism there’s no stopping them.
      Worldwide communist government.
      I would have thought that after all that has been done to people in the UK there might have been a little caution.
      But no…as always predicted draconian measures are being accepted…nay BEGGED for.
      BTW…stockpiling is NOT selfish or greedy. It is a perfectly normal response to fear and danger.
      And why would the powers that be still expect a moral/Christian response to all this when they have spent decades expunging those very virtues??

  14. Roger Phillips
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    Sir John
    Good morning I hope you are all well. Slightly off topic but firstly a huge thank you to the government for addressing the money worry for people during the current crisis. However many millions of us are small business owners and are employers in our own right have almost zero support and still forced to continue working and possibly exposing our clients. Could you please raise this gaping hole as soon as possible.

    Reply. It’s in this letter!

    • Iain Gill
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 7:35 am | Permalink

      John,

      You need to realise a lot of people now constantly move between periods of “perm” paye work, periods of paye work using an umbrella company, periods working as a sole trader, periods working through a personal service company, and gaps in between which are normal for freelance type workers, or gig economy if you like. for large numbers of people they do not operate constantly through one type of legal employment construct, it constantly changes.

      So basing payments on past levels needs care to take all this into account.

      And whatever is done will always leave gaps in provision, so remove all considerations of savings in benefits entitlements, ie make people entitled to all out of work benefits despite any savings they may have.

      Cheers

      • JoolsB
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 9:24 am | Permalink

        Exactly. I’ve received £5,000 worth of cancellations this week alone and yet as someone self employed I’m being offered £95 a week in universal credit if I can be bothered to go down the benefits route. Has anyone tried to ring HMRC lately as Sunak suggests? Before covid 19 kicked in, it could take hours and that’s on a good day.

        And could you tell us John why receivers of tax credits have seen their allowances raised by £1000? Surely their incomes will be covered like other employees. Why does this socialist Government think they deserve a pay rise whilst we self employed are.being treated so badly?

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

        The obvious route here was to start by taking account of 80% of last year’s SAR figures for anyone filling in an SAR, then work back to employed people who don’t enter SAR forms. Instead they did the opposite.
        It would be interesting if (apart from placating the big boys) our host could help us out as to why this was.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 7:37 am | Permalink

      Any help to people and businesses that comes through the UK banks will not get to where it is needed. The help needs to be directly from government to people and to the the businesses. When the government bailed out NatWest RBS, Lloyds etc. the bank just continued to snatch back whatever they could from their customers and also charged excessive margins and fees wherever they could get away with it. They still are doing this with 40% overdraft rates.

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

        Goodness, 40%? Never read that before!

  15. Iain Gill
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    why is hyper tension not listed as one of the “high risk” groups told to stay at home for 12 weeks, when it is one of the main risk factors in those that die? is it because there would be simply too many of them for the country to keep working?

    “rationing” is forcing people to take more trips to the shops than they would otherwise, dont you “get” it, the need is to reduce each and every social interaction including shopping trips not action to increase shopping trips

    there are a lot of families where truth be told all the adults are high risk, but kids in the house, they currently have to go to the shops for food. are we really going to ramp up supplies to their door?

    remove savings criteria on all benefits, ie allow people to claim regardless of savings. its one of the main ways of helping people in the gig economy moving constantly between different kinds of employment often with gaps. they should not be being forced to spend their savings when perm staff have been bailed out regardless of savings.

    “volunteering” in food banks etc need to chance, people need to stop doing it in groups and actively do it as individuals and keep 3 metres away from each other at all time.

    are the countries mandating face masks for all citizens doing better than those not? are we not doing this simply because of lack of supply? if so ramp up supply

    give infant children who were entitled to free meals last week meal vouchers too! is this being stopped simply cos I know its one of dom cummings pet hates from his time as an education spad?

    do something about the “traveler” community, it is not racist to point out they are still moving around and most certainly not washing their hands! this is simple face I have seen first hand

    close down all places of worship

    thanks

    • Iain Gill
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 7:29 am | Permalink

      sorry about the spelling

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      And we are now told to practise “social distancing” how can we keep more than 2metre away from other people in the supermarket aisles? We are then corralled through a gap at the tills. If we leave a 2 metre gap in the queue someone will push their trolley into that gap. And everyone who goes in and out of that supermarket goes through the same entrance area with doors opening/closing trapping the air inside.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

        we exactly, rationing purchases is making the social distancing problem worse not better.

        the aim should be to reduce the number of times people need to go shopping to the absolute minimum.

        and when in the shops people need to keep 3 metres away from everyone. keep the shops open 24 hours and give everyone a specific time slot if necessary. over crowding in the shops is quite literally going to kill people.

  16. Stred
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    Matt. You have asked people who have symptoms to put themselves into quarantine for one week, or is it two, but they will not be able to phone their GP and have someone visit and test them or offer medication if they become seriously ill and the hospital is full. They may be infected buy have less serious symptoms and decide that they need to go shopping because they are running out of food and other essentials, passing on the disease.
    Do you think it would be possible to do something about this pronto, like testing and delivery of stuff to ensure that quarantine actually works?

  17. Mark B
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    And well done, Sir John.

    What concerns me now is the attack on civil liberties. It seems those that want evermore power to the State are making perfect use of this Storm in a Tea cup. I urge both our kind host and his colleagues in the HoC to resist any attempts to increase the power of the State over our lives. I do not believe placing a whole populace under effective house arrest is a solution to the current problem. What ‘should’ have been done was effective controls ‘BEFORE’ the virus arrived on these shores. Further. We should have banned any attempts by any foreign national seeking access to the NHS, diverting them instead to private hospitals or sending them back home.

    The government has been woefully underprepared and has allowed the MSM to run with this and create a drama out of nothing. It, the MSM, does not report on the number of cancer deaths every day yet, many more people die from that terrible illness than the current bout of Chinese Flu. I would advise the PM to demote this matter to the Health Secretary as his daily presence merely adds to the drama / farce. Standing at a lectern in front of the two Union Flag and flanked by two ‘experts’ may do wonders for his quasi-Churchillian image but, to me he appears more Court Jester in this pantomime than Prime Ministerial. Less is more please. Time to calm things down as, according to one of your previous posts, people are getting a bit panicky.

    As always:

    KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON.

    • zorro
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      Exactly if they were really interested in preventing the virus, they would have clamped down on foreign travel into the UK without testing. They are using it as an exercise to see how compliant the populace will be and how effective they can be at keeping a lid on it.

      zorro

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 10:21 am | Permalink

        The populace will in general carry on as normal because they realise that the measures will have zero effect on the spread of the flu virus.
        So many people are required to keep basic services running that it is impossible to implement.
        We are bankrupting the country for no good reason.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 22, 2020 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

          I think that we have an example of Self-Fulfilling Prophecy above.

    • jerry
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      @Mark B; None so blind as those who choose not to see, none so deaf as those who choose not to hear. Stop being so b****y irresponsible.

      What ever the cause of this pandemic we are were we are, you are like Corporal Jones, still fighting an old war, not the current one.

      Oh and stop always shooting the messenger, the MSM is reporting what is happening – perhaps rather than a attack on civil liberties you would prefer an attack on press freedoms, something not even seen during WW2 (unless it was for national security), the govt has done nothing more against civil liberties during this crisis as they would have do4ne had there been poisoned gas during WW2.

      Where were you when people kept telling us that the NHS was unprepared for a crisis, that is was grossly under staffed, under resourced. Yes you were slagging off the migrants like so many but where were you when others kept warning about the lack of our own indigenous population willing to do so many types of jobs that employers became reliant on migrant labour for, or the companies/population not being willing to pay higher prices for goods made here in the UK by UK nationals.

      Stop bleating Mark B, this is a crisis made from what you wanted, unfettered globalism, why pay more for something made in the UK when it can be manufactured cheaper in China, why pay more for UK labour when when non UK labour can be imported, housed and paid far less.

      Sorry to vent off but….

  18. Frances Truscott
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    Sir John, there is an inherent contradiction in the message which for many amounts to shelter in place but don’t by lots of supplies.
    If there were adequate delivery slots people wouldn’t need to buy a lot of supplies. There has been and may still be a dearth of delivery slots. I got one in the middle of April.
    NHS staff should not be mixing with older people who have been told not to go out.
    Surely the nhs staff can have their necessary things delivered to their workplace?

  19. Kevin
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    I note that your comprehensive review of the state of things does not comprehend the position of savers. You opined yesterday that there is a “glut” of savings. Why isn’t that money being lent out, with savers receiving a market rate of interest that could help the deferred spending power of their hard-earned wages keep pace with inflation? Five years ago, you wrote the following:
    “Nor do I accept…that saving is evil, a crime against economic growth…. A healthy banking system is designed to put savers into contact with borrowers…. It is designed to let the prudent, the elderly and those relying on savings to get a return on their savings by lending their money to the adventurous and the hard up to invest and spend beyond their immediate means…. [S]avers have been robbed of return and potential borrowers starved of loans.”

    Four years ago, the Prime Minister (Mrs. May) said this:
    “While monetary policy – with super-low interest rates and quantitative easing – provided the necessary emergency medicine after the financial crash, we have to acknowledge there have been some bad side effects. People with assets have got richer. People without them have suffered…. People with savings have found themselves poorer. A change has got to come. And we are going to deliver it.”

    After a decade under the Conservatives, and now we are in a crisis of unknown duration, what change has happened or will happen?

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

      Despite all the huff and puff, Mrs May managed to change nothing about anything in 3 years. Not a good reference point.

  20. Alan Jutson
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    Good, Covers most points, but still think that the supermarkets with the volume of business they are doing could be spreading the virus more than anyone realises, lines of people too close together, trolly handles from dirty hands, dirty hands touching packaging etc etc.

    How about some jell stations at all entrances, jell up, or you do not enter. just a sensible precaution which is used on cruise ships to try to stop the spread of Norovirus outbreaks.

    It would seem (from what we are told) you only get this virus from air carrying droplets from others, or from touching infected items, by others, and then by touching your face.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      I hope the government in their modelling programme have put in very big numbers for those who still do not seem to have a clue, or do not care about self control on travelling and social distancing.

      For many this does not seem to them to be a serious problem at all !

      Unfortunately looks like enforced isolation will need to be bought in shortly and policed as well, because many just still do not understand, do not want to understand, or do not seem to care, thinking because they think they are invincible it does not affect others. !

      • a-tracy
        Posted March 23, 2020 at 11:01 am | Permalink

        Alan several of these people touring Snowdon are the same people who called their bosses telling them they were self-isolating and couldn’t work. Then the idiots put photos on facebook!

    • stred
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      If they’ve got it they will contaminate the gel button, so clean the button every time.

      • Alan Jutson
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

        stred

        Cruise lines either usr an automatic dispenser which detects a hand under the nozzle, or crew to push the button so no one touches it.

        so passengers do not touch anything at all.

  21. hefner
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 7:59 am | Permalink
  22. Anonymous
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    Hancock and Redwood are mere puppets of the MSM, we need to be talking to them.

    • SM
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      OK, I’ve read your comment 3 times and I still don’t understand what your point is.

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

        Redwood and Hancock (we do not know how much they really know), but on the face of it they are controlled by “the Narrative”. The narrative is enforced by HIGH EMOTION, which makes John get cross when people question the narrative (we are all controlled by prejudice and emotion). They are using G Shillers psychological techniques of control.
        Redwood cannot deviate far from the Narrative (even if he wants to) without losing his job. The lies are so big Redwood and others are forced to play along with them. Alternatively they delude themselves the official narrative is true in an attempt to preserve their sanity. I am surprised dozens of MPs are not having nervous breakdowns right now, (because of what they are involved in).

        Reply I do not have to conform to any narrative and do not lose my job if I disagree with the government.Matt hAncock is a member of the government who helps decide their view of what to do.

  23. Iain Gill
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    I would also say anyone forced to cancel life insurance though this due to lack of money needs help. Some kind of suspension of insurance companies right to cancel cover, they can take the payments out of any payout due if someone dies, if they dont die payments can be made up when we recover from all this. Otherwise too many people are going to die without insurance for their family.

    • jerry
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      @Iain Gill; Indeed, perhaps they just reminding that they are a regulated industry and memories tend to be long…

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

      Indeed they should not be allowed to cancel any life policy until at least 12 months in arrears.

  24. hefner
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    For anybody interested, there is a FREE course put together by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine starting tomorrow (23/03) called ‘COVID-19’ on the FutureLearn platform (Open University).

    https://www.futurelearn.com

    Also on the site: How does coronavirus compare to other outbreaks?

  25. Richard1
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Good points. On point 2. clearly there should be the same cap as applies to employees – 80% of normal earning subject to a max of £2,500 pcm. On point 4. there is much truth in this there are some excellent online learning services. It’s particularly well suited to maths.

  26. Javelin
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    What are we doing about India stopping the export of drugs like paracetamol?

    Surely in the long run the Government need to be able to produce drugs in our own country.

    With EU countries blocking drugs going to other EU countries this means the EU concept of free movement of any good that could be used in a national emergency needs to be produced in every country. From medicines, petrol, car spares to food.

    • APL
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      Javelin: “Surely in the long run the Government need to be able to produce drugs in our own country.”

      That would be the sensible approach. But not just drugs, but everything that has been outsorurced to China should be repatriated to the West.

      Much of what went offshore in the ’70 is now an utterly different industry, what with computerisation of the production facilities. We could have that back in ‘no time’ and re-skill and retool.

      We should not allow ourselves to be exposed to these extended supply chains again.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

        But people with good jobs in manufacturing tend to vote Labour.

        So it won’t happen.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 22, 2020 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

          Yet JLRs main constituencies there are two Conservative members of parliament.

        • APL
          Posted March 22, 2020 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

          Martin in Cardiff: “But people with good jobs in manufacturing tend to vote Labour.”

          I don’t know that that is true. When we had labour intensive industries like mining and steel production.

          High skilled well paid employees, not so much.

          If you take the last election as a metric, that ain’t necessarily so.

        • Fred H
          Posted March 22, 2020 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

          do you work for the BBC? – – a natural.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 23, 2020 at 8:08 am | Permalink

            No.

    • Fred H
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      It started with China undercutting ( dumping) paracetamol. The buyers chasing discount prices bought up, and production elsewhere fell away….
      Globalisation makes advanced ( really?) countries chase ever lower raw material and labour prices. Not a thought as to ‘what happens if?’.

      Self reliance !
      Entrepreneurs take note.

  27. Dave
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    We really are starting to see people’s true colours now. How many people now advocating draconian powers to the government usually pretend to be a friend of liberty? Do they have an agenda or are they simply completely ignorant of how governments have always used “temporary special powers”? Once government has the power to lock you away for an unspecified period merely on suspicion of being ill and allows non family members to sign off on deaths there is no liberty at all. We have an authoritarian nighmare state that can do whatever it wishes with you anytime it likes. If it also controls the food supply, the money supply and forces you to take vaccines that are not properly tested and, very likely, denies you access to travel, food and employment if you refuse then we no longer have a world I want to live in. We are running at full speed into a dystopian nightmare because of an over hyped virus that has so far not killed nearly as many as usually die this time of year from many other causes. This fake crisis may well turn out to be the worst event in history because of panic. May whatever God you follow help you.

    • bill brown
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      Dave

      I wish you had a bit more faith in the fact that this is a real emergency

    • Andy
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      I urge you to read the heartbreaking eyewitness accounts from doctors not only in Italian hospitals but also in our own NHS hospitals before you call it a fake crisis. Stories from journalists who have been in those hospitals. There will be contributors to this blog who will die from Covid-19. It might be me. It might be any one of you. The restrictions governments are putting in place are harsh but necessary.

      That said I loathe the charlatan Johnson and his team of dysfunctional incompetents l a passion. I am deeply uneasy with each power they grab. But I recognise they have no choice. Where they are wrong is not doing this as a government of national unity. Which would at least give the majority which did not vote Tory the reassurance we need that this will not turn into Tory dictatorship.

      • Richard1
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

        Relax. You will get another shot in 2024 to put in a left wing govt. but please accept you lost last time. You weren’t urging for David Cameron and John Redwood to be appointed to the cabinet after the GFC. So you will just have to live with democracy when it throws up results you don’t like.

        • Andy
          Posted March 22, 2020 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

          I don’t vote for Labour. These are not normal times. Already elections have been cancelled. Personal liberties have been infringed – perhaps even more than they were in wartime. The economic bailout is immense.

          These are not issues for one party to tackle alone. Particularly one rejected by the majority just 3 months ago. Imagine, for a moment, the boot on the other foot. Imagine Corbyn had won the election and was now doing exactly the same as Johnson was doing. The howls from Conservatives would be immense.

          The Tory government has already made several significant mistakes in this crisis – which have already cost jobs and which will cost lives. We owe it to all the people to this country for them to have a voice around the Cabinet table at this time.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 22, 2020 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

            Yet their rating is over 50% which is near record levels and Corbyn has a rating of less than 20%
            Do you do any factual decision making in your business life?

    • Richard1
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 10:08 am | Permalink

      And your suggestion would be?

    • hefner
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      Except if (and that is a Brobdingnagian IF) the present Government were to disband Parliament and decide to cancel all future GEs, what you are saying is just OTT.
      Do I see a hint of ‘snowflake’-ness coming from you?

      • Edward2
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

        The Queen would intervene and the voters would rise up.
        When did your scenario last happen?

        • hefner
          Posted March 23, 2020 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

          Edward2, ‘A quiet moment of serious reflection’ would have shown you that I was commenting on Dave’s original comment. But no the great Edward2 has to come battling windmills. Is your surname Quixote?

  28. zorro
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    Can you please counter some of the more outrageous statements coming from the medical profession about effectively turning the UK into a police curfew state with people dying of starvation unable to get food?

    I have seen a letter from six doctors effectively requesting a lockdown and house arrest in all but other names.

    I have heard one doctor say that there is no way of saying if someone has the virus so effectively everyone is the ‘invisible enemy’

    I have heard another saying that petrol pumps are dangerous. Why not any surface anywhere at any time?

    They are deliberately terrifying people, some of whom are not mentally strong or resilient at the best of time.

    How many deaths will happen as a result of other diseases or suicide because of this? Why will the Department of Health not release current death figures from flu? Could you please ask Mr Hancock to release the figures or will that not fit their agenda?

    zorro

    • Mark B
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

      Zorro

      When this farce is finally over I think there is going to be a reckoning. People do not like being taken for fools and, they will be less likely to trust governments again.

  29. zorro
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    JR, are you able to influence any of our Parish councils to set up volunteers who could help identify elderly residents without family support who food packages could be distributed to so that they do not have to go to supermarkets and risk infection?

    zorro

  30. Anonymous
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    John, we are scared of you, politicians. more than a virus.

    • hefner
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      I am not. If my present MP does not perform reasonably these days (i.e., as I would like them to do), I’ll vote for somebody else next time.

  31. Everhopeful
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    As far as “hoarding” and “stockpiling” are concerned it seems to have become quite a thing for at least 15 years now.
    Many products have simply vanished from the shelves or been fundamentally changed.
    Certain OTC remedies have been withdrawn causing real distress to many who lament their loss on internet blogs etc.
    Hoarding has thus become second nature to many.
    And sorry..but I thought we were supposed to be capitalists?
    That means buying and selling in a most amoral fashion.
    Nothing nice or touchy-feely about it.

  32. agricola
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Panic buying is a characteristic of the British, think the week before Christmas if you find it difficult to believe me. It does not happen here in Spain except where there are an accumulation of the British. The Spanish tend to buy for two days ahead and to buy fresh. family structure is physically closer than in the UK. There has not as yet been the compulsion we have in the UK to move around for work to anywhere near the same extent as in the UK..

    I can understand adding a little extra to the shopping list because it means fewer visits to the supermarket and therefore less exposure.

    The UK supermarket chains need to evolve a system for essential workers , who are more than often working shifts, so that their needs are catered for. First the order should come to the supermarket by internet or phone, ideally for collection from a central point at the shop 24/7. A pick up centre in the car park should suffice.

    If a form of supermarket rationing /policing comes about, bare in mind that some will be shopping for others during these trying times. So police it with common sense and discretion. Descend on profiteering like a ton of bricks.

    My final exhortation is for those newly at home away from the workplace. Try cooking from raw. It is usually much cheaper and has the advantage of knowing what has been used to produce the meal and therefore has the potential of being much healthier.

  33. ed2
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    They are trying to destroy small business and the self-employed. So Big business is behind all this.

    • bill brown
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      ed2

      Can we please see some proof of this? what about IR35 then?

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

        No, but small business and the self-employed are just collateral damage with less firepower.

        Watch the tax take amongst the self employed plummet in future if they think big business has been helped out of their taxes (which it has been so far).

  34. Caterpillar
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    1. For anybody in need of A level mathematics don’t forget Imperials courses have been on EdX for some time – some people in first year of A levels could even get ahead.

    2. I agree with others that every MP needs to read Hitchen’s – one more time

    https://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2020/03/peter-hitchens-is-shutting-down-britain-with-unprecedented-curbs-on-ancient-liberties-really-the-bes.html

  35. jerry
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Regarding food supplies diverted from now closed catering outlets, this could work for some produce but not others, who wants a catering sized tin of baked beans for example, they will have gone off well before the average family can eat them, even if kept in the fridge. That said, fresh or easily repackaged produce could be diverted with ease, especially to those supermarkets and shops that have fresh counters. What is more many people will likely buy only what they need from such a counter rather than buying bulk/multi packs of pre-wrapped because that is all that was available. It is also easier for such counters to control buying activity, just as it was during war time food rationing even if formal rationing is not needed.

  36. Anonymous
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    The public response is not, in my opinion, due to fear of the disease, but fear of government’s over-reaction to the disease; fear of being kept indoors, unable to obtain necessary provisions, and fear of losing one’s savings and livelihood to the government-induced panic.

  37. Andy
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    The best ideas are simple:

    1) Proper enforced self isolation and self distancing immediately.
    2) Supermarket ‘rationing’. By this I mean people should only be allowed to visit on certain days to limit the number of people out and about. Eg) If your surname starts with A-D you go on Mondays. E-H go on Tuesdays etc….
    3) Military delivering supplies to the elderly and vulnerable
    4) Harsh punishments for those creating and sharing fake news. Disinformation has been a huge threat to our democracy since the Brexiteers and Trump used it to gain power. The same disinformation is now a threat to our lives. We must eradicate it.

    • Fred H
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      the best ideas always seem to be yours….

    • Edward2
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      Comrade Andy showing us the dictator part of his personality yet again with number 4.
      Would those responsible for the fake news and disinformation in Remain’s Project Fear 1.0 and 2.0 proven lies be included in your demands for ” harsh punishments” and calls for their eradication?
      I will predict they wouldn’t
      Only Stalin type show trials for those you don’t like.

    • Richard1
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      Be careful what you wish for. If 4) remains in force you would certainly be vulnerable in future online debates on Brexit and issues of economic policy based on your previous posts.

    • Jiminyjim
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

      Almost everything you post here is fake news!

    • a-tracy
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      Andy,
      1) what for everyone including doctors, nurses, paramedics, the transport that gets them to work, the water companies staff that provide our sanitation, the electric staff, gas workers, delivery drivers keeping the elderly self-isolators fed, the supermarket and other food store workers, the broadband providers, network providers, telecoms, do you want me to go on…just get real

    • a-tracy
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

      2) oh doesn’t this sound like a simple solution but what do you do with all the Davies, Jones, Smiths, Patels all flooding in on the same day and over buying families will all find work around, say 5 in a home go to 5 different supermarkets, we just have to trust people’s extra bought freezers are full now.
      4) Lots of people are reacting to what the media tell them< our media mentioned empty toilet roll shelves in Australia and bam we now have the same problem I didn’t panic buy but haven’t been able to buy toilet rolls for two weeks perhaps I was the fool. Then the newspapers tell us you shouldn’t use Ibuprofen so all the Paracetamol sold out.

  38. Newmania
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    We are trying to get a sense of what is proportionate, should my children meet a friend , what is the advice for school workers ( eg Mrs N ) who will be looking after Key worker children .
    Life simply cannot stop and this leads to many odd disconnects.
    A lady on the TV suggested we should dump all cardboard immediately we get in,(?) and yet a nurse was saying they put people in taxis in general circulation to send them home. What is required is detailed real life realistic advice.
    Other than that the number one priority is testing testing testing .Not even NHS staff are getting tested. I am sure plenty of work is going into this. I just hope no-one is wasting time on some silly old political luxury project no-one cares about anymore ….
    Btw its not just key workers … everyone in the economy is working their socks off to keep their little world going.

    • Richard1
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

      Indeed.

  39. DOMINIC
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    This government mustn’t step over that most fine line that exists between the necessary efforts required to limit the impact of this ’emergency’ and the destruction of the UK and all that it is and all that it represents

    I and indeed others have recognised the embrace of authoritarian politics taken by the British State since the Tory party came to power in 2010. This grip over what we can do, what we see, what we think and what we say accelerated under May to a most extreme degree to the point where even MPs themselves have self-censored to halt attacks upon themselves

    Today’s nonsense about not being able to visit your mother on Mothering Sunday is the thin edge. This stance is about human conditioning using threat, fear and penalties

    I have always believed that since the fall of Thatcher the British government of whatever colour has had zero opposition. All the main parties generally share the same abhorrent ideas of social engineering, social control, identity politics fascism, victim culture and the use of propaganda

    This government is no different.

  40. DOMINIC
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    ‘persuading the NHS’? Why should you have to persuade the NHS? What this shows is one simple fact of political life. That the public sector is impossible to control due to their unionisation and its activities are beyond the direct control of elected Ministers while the private sector is pilloried, bullied and dictated to.

    The public sector has become a source of political power and control. We can see this in the NHS, the Police, the CPS and OFCOM, Elect-Comm etc etc.

    The Tories are in government but not in power while the private sector is crushed and is now an extension of the British State with sports especially becoming avenues of social indoctrination

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 23, 2020 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

      You’re very easily scared, aren’t you?

  41. Anonymous
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    I have given my telephone number to elderly neighbours as well as the ones I usually visit.

    “Call me if anything happens”

    Now it occurs to me what “lock down” actually means and how false my pledges. I’m heartbroken.

  42. Norman
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    This simple, positive, two and a half minute video message from Israeli Defence Minister, Naftali Bennett is well worth watching! https://youtu.be/uGl1YydafxY

  43. Ian @Barkham
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    Sir John

    There are signs of the majority pulling together. Then there is the need to be seen on message.

    Our big Supermarkets are going out of their way to help the vulnerable and the over 70’s, with reserved shopping times – which is good if the had something to sell.

    The bit that is perverse and is Marketing ‘MeToo’ jumping on to the band wagon what ever you want to call it by the Supermarkets. Our NHS staff the ones in our communities that are working hard yet most exposed to this dreaded virus are being told they can shop at the same time as the most vulnerable!

    That would suggest instead of helping the Supermarkets are set on a path to increase the spread among the people we wish to keep away from NHS services.

    Someone has to point them in the right direction.

    • cornishstu
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

      I think you will find that has now changed at least with Sainsbury, according to the email I received this morning they are now letting NHS workers shop 30 min before opening and the vulnerable to shop first hour on Mon Wed and Fri. The problem is the shelves are still bare of the essentials which means if you are in the vulnerable group instead of going out once a week you have to go repeatedly to try to get what you need and so increase your exposure. I read yesterday that people were buying up freezers, out of interest I went onto AO.com website to find they had sold out of freezers! The whole food thing should have been thought out from the get go, if controls had been in place there would be more than enough to go around, that is not 2020 hindsight, it is basic disaster type planning which should have been on the shelf ready to go as should a lot of other things. Just thinking back to the Cold War days when nuclear and biological warfare was all the rage, and we trained for such eventualities and had contingency plans, to busy worrying about CO2 I guess!

  44. Polly
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    I think it’s unfortunate you did not highlight the entirely logical and increasingly likely connection between ACE, ARB and Ibuprofen medications and worsening outcomes for patients with C-19 as previously linked.

    Irrespective of ACE and ARB where alternative medications exist but may be difficult to implement rapidly, there certainly should be a public information campaign to stop the use of Ibuprofen and to highlight the extreme danger of smoking in relation to this respiratory disease.

    However, in Britain, all this is apparently being ignored which is regrettable because these factors might have the potential to change the entire approach.

    Polly

  45. DOMINIC
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Who is Sadiq Khan? Has he suddenly become the PM of the UK? What gives him the right or the platform to make reference to the police and the Army arresting people for not self-isolating.

    Khan’s not in government. He’s not a Minister of the Crown.

    Does the Army have the right to arrest British citizen?

    Khan and his party send shivers down my spine. I actually do find them disturbing. What has happened to Labour? So sad to see a party die and taken over by people who despise the very people they need to get into government

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      Some people will listen to him but won’t listen to the triumvirate of older, pale, male, highly educated folk on the platform. I guess they should wheel out D Abbott too.

    • APL
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

      Domonic: “Does the Army have the right to arrest British citizen?”

      Two weeks ago, we hadn’t the faintest idea we’d all be under house arrest. But, here we are.

      So who knows what powers the army might be given.

  46. Steve Reay
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    I was a samaritan, and now fear we will see an increase in suicides as a result. People will face debt, loneliness, and job losses. I hope the government and our scientists can eradicate this virus quickly. The government has made a big ask of its people. In the short term people might manage it, but the long term who knows.

  47. Christine
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    John,
    Nice to see you putting forward practical advice and suggestions. As I said yesterday the Government should be utilising your skills and set up a group to collate good suggestions that can be passed to the appropriate departments. We have to be careful that cabinet ministers aren’t swamped with lots of nonsense.

    I suggest you stop the posting from the negative contributors to this diary. Their efforts add no value and create a lot of unnecessary noise.

    There are older people and self-isolators on here who will have lots of experience and spare time to help. If there’s anything we can do just ask.

    Take care and thank you for all the information.

  48. ukretired123
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    I am so glad you have mentioned the online learning resources.
    There are so many simple opportunities ” Under our very noses we literally overlook ! ”

    Britain is the world leader in designing lightweight but powerful computer chips that power smartphones (thanks to Warren East now CEO of Rolls-Royce after Chief of ARM Holdings) and also manufacturers of the tiny Raspberry Pi credit sized computer designed for the one per child computer which has baffled the USA giants unable to get their costs / performance balance affordable to the wider world education market (Intel, Microsoft etc!!!).

    If you get many IT and Tech self-employed folks and SMEs idle they could propel this country forward and give a revolution in many areas of education that are backwaters and underperforming due to boredom old fashioned classes all the way up to Universities where money has taken over plus political bias to students.

    A golden opportunity is here right now to turn a problem into multiple solutions and unlock the log-jam of idleness and frustration.

    Also this is an opportunity to take stock and use all the combined UK brainpower for new ideas and even set up a website especially for it. Dominic Cummins had the foresight on this recently wanting creative types and off-beats but everyone possible should be invited to give their contributions however weird. Necessity is the mother of invention and Britain has a track record going back centuries in coming up with innovative solutions.
    Boris is ideally placed to fire the starting gun!

    • ukretired123
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      Meant to say
      And Britain is also the leading manufacturer tiny computers…

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      @ukretired123

      I agree with you enthusiasm. ARM as you hopefully know is the reason everyone in the World is able to have a mobile device. The iPhones Android Phones, iPad, tablets of every discription and so on all rely on ARM for the technology.

      Our erstwhile UK Government recently permitted the Sale ARM, it permitted the removal of all ARM’s intellectual Property(IP), all ARM’s license’s, patents etc. are now in foreign hands. If the UK wants to enjoy any of the benefits of its own bright scientist it now has to buy this in from the new Foreign owner. The UK is paying twice to keep up.

      So the Worlds dominant player in the Worlds Phones and its technology no longer exist on these shores

      • ukretired123
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

        Exactly and I raised this when it was first offered a takeover when Mrs May was PM but her husband’s company made millions from its sale!

        (Being an IT self-employed IF 35 victim ) I bought shares years ago when they were cheap and they rocketed tenfold in just several years boosting my Equitable threadbare pension that I managed to move eventually to my own SIPP to control myself thank god!

        It has been soul destroying seeing excellent British ideas sold off like Pilkington Glass (check your cars make) Arm and many incredibly gifted firms taken from Britain (unlike France, Germany and Japan) sold all over the world. Tragic in point of fact as our engineers are not valued and revered as those countries mentioned.

  49. BOF
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    What I find utterly abhorrent and against everything the the British people stand for is the massive extension of the state and the draconian powers given to the state and their agents.

    Will we ever get our country back?

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

      It is the absence of a written constitution, and the fact that literally anything that Parliament agrees becomes law, which means that in the UK the power of the State is in principle unlimited.

      But you don’t want a modern constitution as understood in the civilised world, do you?

      • Edward2
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

        Most revolutions happened in countries with constitutions.
        It is no guarantee of good government.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 23, 2020 at 8:15 am | Permalink

          Hardly surprising as the UK is about the only one without one.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 23, 2020 at 10:46 am | Permalink

            So first you say you want a written constitution to avoid a revolution or overthrow of democracy by the Government.
            Then when I point out that this is provides no real defense against such things happening you agree.
            Very odd.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 23, 2020 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

            Did you waste everyone’s time in class at school with inane observations too, Edward?

    • Mark B
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

      I agree.

  50. Ian russell
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    A point to raise about “on line and remote solutions to service provision” if you are writing to the DoH.

    Last week our local practice asked me to go for a blood test before they issue another prescription for Simvastatin by letter. I did not think this was wise and tried to reply online but no means of doing so is mentioned on their letter or website.

    So I typed a letter, delivered it by hand, and am now waiting for a reply.

    No doubt there are GDPR and security issues, and Covid-19 may mean it is not be the best time to raise it, but if solutions are available (not sure if they are) why not use them?

    We are in South Suffolk (James Cartlidge MP0 but I imagine this is a general problem.

  51. Iain Gill
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Social distancing measures we have here are simply not good enough.

    Other countries are using face masks outdoors, disposing of them after one use. Straight in the shower and wash clothes on return to house AND dont touch other family members until this is done.

    3 metres away from each other including in the shops and volunteers doing food parcels etc.

    We need a radical hard hitting TV campaign that explains EXACTLY what real social distancing is and the grim reality of how many more people will die if we dont do it.

    We need to publish the average age of virus death in the UK (62) and explain for every 92 year old dying there is a 32 year old dying to get this average. And that the average age of death in New York (for instance) is far lower and nothing about being young is saving people.

    We need to stop the nutters still going to “worship”.

    We need to stop the “traveler” convoys moving around.

    We need to get a blommin grip.

    Only go out for food or medicine. If you can go out for an exercise walk you must stay 3 metres away from anyone else.

    Any minor trip to hospital is now a massive risk of catching the virus. So risky sports and activities, like riding motorcycles, mountain climbing, etc, should be stopped, there is simply too much chance of the small percentage that will end up in hospital catching the virus and dying. Whatever we can do to avoid hospital attendances needs doing.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      AND the virus can live on paper and door or gate handles for a long time, people need to wash their hands immediately after touching envelopes arriving at the house etc.

      people are simply not being told this stuff, its life saving information!

    • Iain Gill
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

      and people need to be told

      1 you are infectious a few days before you show symptoms
      2 it can be passed on by sneezes/in exhaled air but also by touch
      3 children are often infectious and never show symptoms, be aware of kids mixing with anyone outside the people they are stuck in the house with

      other things the government could do

      1 abolish the tax on one time use carrier bags, taking the same bag back to the shops is a really bad idea now those who are coming from houses with the virus are bringing the virus on the bag (without knowing)

      2 increase the limit on “touch only” credit card use, every time we touch that PIN keyboard we are risking the virus from the people in front. its simply not worth the risk.

      cheers

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

      Your use of averages is wrong. Though I think the risk of a high UK death rate among all age groups is because we already have an obesity (related illnesses) crisis already.

      We did try to tell people that gluttony and smoking were not good things to do.

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

        This disease picks out the old and the weak.

        An economic depression picks out everyone !

        • Anonymous
          Posted March 22, 2020 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

          The flu does not kill people. Viral pneumonia does and if your immune system is weak (and you have made it weak by ignoring health advice) you are at risk.

          The real tragedy will be that eventually (when the average death rate comes down) a 50 year old consultant who kept themselves in good shape will be ineligible for a ventilator whereas an obese layabout at 49 will.

          • a-tracy
            Posted March 23, 2020 at 10:43 am | Permalink

            That simply wouldn’t happen Anonymous, the Consultant would be on a ventilator faster than you can say fast, they are an essential worker for now and the future.

            The real tragedy will be that eventually all those workers that are carrying on trying to keep the key cogs working right now, in all the key industries will get sick and left off the ventilator. I hope the government will give all these workers an extra tax free allowance for 2020/21 for their contribution in continuing to WORK.

  52. Original Chris
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    Pter Hitchens in the Mail raises some very important questions indeed with regard to the government’s control policy and where it gets its advice from. I believe he is absolutely right.
    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-8138675/PETER-HITCHENS-shutting-Britain-REALLY-right-answer.html
    PETER HITCHENS: Is shutting down Britain – with unprecedented curbs on ancient liberties – REALLY the best answer?

    • Iain Gill
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      Peter is being silly over this.

    • Andy
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      We need to send Mr Hitchens to a hospital in Italy to speak to dying patients and the doctors treating them.

      As Mr Hitchens clearly believes this is a non-issue he will not require protective clothing.

      This will enable Mr Hitchens to fully assess the situation. The Mail on Sunday will require a new columnist by the end of April.

      • Jiminyjim
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

        You should not be allowed to post this hysterical nonsense. For goodness sake man, look at the statistics!

    • forthurst
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

      Hitchens’ writes well but he uses anecdotal evidence to bolster his thesis which is not relevant to the current epidemic. Yet another whose tertiary choices give no indication of numeracy.

    • RichardP
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

      I think Peter Hitchens is correct.
      If we destroy our economy there will be no NHS. The country needs sensible level headed leadership not martial law.

  53. ISIL
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    It has already been indicated by the Singapore Government that the coronavirus can last and be viable and a severe threat for as long as two days on a non-organic surfaces and an organic surfaces.
    Shopping, the foods are hands-on. Multiple human beings touch the goods, potatoes, and a whole range of unwrapped vegetables and fruit. It is obvious to a sound mind.
    The campaign for unwrapped food,its implementation was obviously and is obviously an ongoing health hazard of epic proportions.
    But all our media and government did was to show beaches at the other side of the world to emphasise their dirty filthy unheathly message and advice.

    A General Election is required now as a matter of national emergency. We cannot have dumplings( unwrapped ) as MPs.
    The Tories of course will not win,

    • Fred H
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      Another GE would be pointless, take far too much time, dozens of MPs might change, and achieve nothing – what a ridiculous suggestion. Should Boris’ government not come up with the expectations supporting electorate had, and they are not doing too well (ignoring coronavirus in the equation) then in maybe a year or two we would benefit from another GE.

    • hefner
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

      There was the first round of municipal elections in France on 15/03. For such elections the abstention rate is usually 30-35%. This time it was 55%. Given the Covid-19 scare the French Government has decided to postpone the second round to the end of June.

      Do you really think such a good idea to call a GE election now, especially when older voters are keener on such elections than younger ones.
      When the party activists will be campaigning from door-to-door, who should be wearing masks, they, I or both?

    • Jiminyjim
      Posted March 22, 2020 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

      Sir John, you are sometimes too generous and kind in your moderation. I think you could have deleted this piece of pessimistic, partisan nonsense without losing your well deserved reputation for fairness. And, ISIL (well named) you are obviously not following the news – this is the most popular government for several decades. Thanks to just a few decent MPs like Sir John. Thank you, Sir John, for your useful information on this site and for trying to be open to opposing views. Your non partisanship is a breath of fresh air

      • Jiminyjim
        Posted March 22, 2020 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

        I should have added, non partisanship in very stark contrast with a small minority on this site

  54. ian
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    It’s not all about coffee shops and restaurants closing down the main problem is that the supply chain is broken from China to Europe and elsewhere and nobody knows when it will be fixed which can shut down manufacturing and other businesses for months on end.

  55. Polly
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    May I just add one more thing not to do in relation to C-19 ?

    Please do not vape, in addition to not smoking and not taking Ibuprofen.

    Polly

    • Posted March 23, 2020 at 7:10 am | Permalink

      Why? Is there evidence that it would be beneficial? If so, what’s your source?

  56. Anonymous
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    Please observe all the SOAP OPERA stars claiming to have Coronavirus. Even claiming to be the first in the world to have it (a famous soap star), please note it was a soap opera star who created the toilet roll panic by having an alleged emotional breakdown in Cosco for the MSM to report.

  57. Norman
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    Just because in vitro research shows a virus can survive on various surfaces for a number of hours does not mean that’s a likely means of spread. This is a virus affecting the respiratory system, and the main means of spread is likely to be by breathing in aerosols from others’ coughing and sneeezing, and through the conjunctival mucous membranes. In a situation like this, there needs to be a sense of proportion, based on practical clinical experience, otherwise the whole thing takes on a life of its own.
    The most URGENT needs are (1) to facilitate self isolation of the vulnerable, by addressing food and medicine delivery issues; (2) to expedite the necessary NHS resources specific to this disease.

  58. Pat
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    The government is proposing to borrow some £300 bn to tide people over whilst the economy is closed down. It will get little thanks. In a few years time, if this approach has indeed eliminated Covid the repayments will still be due, and those currently cheering this policy will not be accepting the sacrifices that will be needed to pay the debt back, rather they will be calling for more money for everything. If it fails to eliminate Covid then they will do the same, but in addition accuse the government of wasting resources.
    Should Covid not be eliminated then the only difference it will make will be to reduce the number of flu deaths by a similar amount to the number of Covid deaths. Note the average age of civic victims is 81 and all had other pathologies- i.e. were going to be carried off by the next virus they caught.
    I hear that draconian measures to enforce the “social distancing” policy are due to be voted on imminently. I guess the momentum is such that their passage is assured. May I beg that you campaign for a sunset clause, such that they automatically lapse after a period. I fear that otherwise they will remain on the books for tyrants, great and petty, to use.
    I am likely to die in the next decade anyway. I would not have my children or grandchildren saddled with debt. just so I get an extra year or so, and I’m damned if I want their liberties curtailed at any price, certainly not just to change the cause of death in my death certificate.

  59. jane4brexit
    Posted March 23, 2020 at 12:00 am | Permalink

    With schools shutting down, might they be an ideal place for temporary field hospitals?

  60. Richard
    Posted March 23, 2020 at 12:48 am | Permalink

    The Coronavirus Bill, designed to last two years (!), but with many “emergency” powers excluded from the sunset clause & so retained permanently. But is this a manufactured ‘crisis’? For example:

    Professor Ioannidis warns that the WHO’s global fatality rate of 3.4% is “meaningless” and we are making decisions without reliable data. Considering “the limited testing to date,” it’s unknown whether “we are failing to capture infections by a factor of three or 300”…… “when the mortality rate of the seasonal flu is grounded in confirmed cases, then its .1% mortality rate jumps to 10%” https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/03/jack-kerwick/coronavirus-hysteria-part-i/ https://www.statnews.com/2020/03/17/a-fiasco-in-the-making-as-the-coronavirus-pandemic-takes-hold-we-are-making-decisions-without-reliable-data/

    Dr. Paul Offit, an expert on vaccines, immunology, and virology says “COVID-19 may be only marginally more dangerous than the Swine flu of 2009” and “the flu is far worse than COVID-19“

    Epidemiologist Prof Kenji Mizumoto suggests up to 2 million people in wuhan have been infected leading to an infection fatality ratio between 0.04% and 0.12%
    https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.02.12.20022434v2

    A Swiss doctor provides many more points, here are just a few eamples:
    https://swprs.org/a-swiss-doctor-on-covid-19/
    – “Most major media again falsely reported that Italy yesterday had 797 deaths from the coronavirus. In reality, the president of the Italian Civil Protection Service stressed that these are deaths „with the coronavirus and not from the coronavirus“

    – “A model from Imperial College London predicted between 250,000 and 500,000 deaths in the UK „from“ Covid-19, but the authors of the study have now conceded that many of these deaths would not be in addition to, but rather part of the normal annual mortality rate, which in the UK is about 600,000 people per year. In other words, excess mortality would remain low.” https://www.bbc.com/news/health-51979654

    – “according to a first Chinese study, the internationally used virus test kits may give a false positive result… Thus the most important indicator for judging the danger of the disease is… the number of people actually and unexpectedly developing or dying from pneumonia (so-called excess mortality). So far, this value remains very low in most countries”

    – “According to the latest European monitoring report, overall mortality in all countries (including Italy) and in all age groups remains within or even below the normal range so far.”

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 23, 2020 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      The facts are, that hospitals around the world are being overwhelmed by people with breathing difficulties, whatever other facts there may be.

      That is a reality, not a hysterical delusion. Medical staff are being killed too.

      Governments must stop matters deteriorating.

  61. God
    Posted March 23, 2020 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    We cannot go on like this. I am calling on the MSM and the political class to resign.

  • 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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