Dear Constituent

I am writing to update you on the virus crisis, and the  damage to jobs, incomes and lifestyles   that the virus response is causing.

The government has taken advice from epidemiologists, based on worldwide work through the World Health Organisation. This work concludes that because there is no current cure nor vaccine to prevent the spread of Covid 19, and  because people with severe versions of the illness die, tough action has to be taken to slow or stop the spread of the disease. As it appears to be easily caught, this requires as much separation between people as possible.

The UK has adopted a range of measures similar to those in Italy, Spain, France and Germany who also have bad attacks. The measures are a  bit less severe than those adopted in China, which claims to have tamed the virus, but more severe than the Swedish approach. The USA seems to be moving to join us with more severe measures as it spreads rapidly there.

I have constantly pointed out to the government that closing down more than  a third of the economy for an unspecified period will put many people out of work, bankrupt many businesses and create hardship for people who lose their income. I suggested a number of measures to offset some of this damage. I am pleased to report that the government has announced a scheme to enable companies to furlough their staff, keep them on the payroll when  not working, with the government paying 80% of the cost for the period of shutdown up to an individual  pay ceiling. It has announced a similar scheme for many self employed people. It has also offered state guarantees for commercial banks to lend to keep companies with much reduced turnover going through the difficult period.

I welcome this big response, but do not think it goes far enough. I am trying to persuade the government to underwrite more jobs and incomes, and to make the payments earlier. Only if we keep company workforces in being can we be ready for recovery as soon as the restrictions are lifted.

I am also about to tackle the government on the all important timing of exit from these emergency measures. I understand cautious advisers wanting to stamp out the disease want maximum isolation for the maximum number of people for as long as possible. They are worried that if we lift the bans early with numbers ill falling there could be a second wave. The government, however, has to balance this risk against the undoubted substantial extra damage to jobs and incomes if we keep the closures in  being for too long.

As capacity builds in  the NHS to handle high numbers with pneumonia like symptoms, and as more people get the mild  version of the illness and gain some immunity, so it should  become easier to relax the tough economic sanctions against normal business activity. We clearly need to keep in place strict safeguarding measures for the ill and vulnerable whilst medical research works on treatments and vaccinations.

I am also conscious of continuing shortfalls in on line food delivery services, where I have proposed measures to harness volunteers and use delivery services from companies previously supplying non essential items. There is plenty of food but still problems with switching items like eggs from large catering packs to retail packs, leading to some empty shelves. Again I have proposed some measures to deal with this backlog.

I hope you and yours are keeping well and are managing in these difficult circumstances. I would like to say a big thank you to all of you who are going to work to maintain our essential services, ensure there is food for our tables, and to care for others. I am working from my home in Wokingham Borough, and doing as much as possible of my job on the phone and on line.

Yours sincerely

John Redwood

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318 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    You say:- “This work concludes that because there is no current cure nor vaccine to prevent the spread of Covid 19, and because people with severe versions of the illness die, tough action has to be taken to slow or stop the spread of the disease.“

    They may be no cure or vaccine yet but we know that some hospital treatments improve you chances of survival significantly if they are available.

    The reality is that due to lack of NHS ICU and ventilator capacity we have to slow the spread of the infection down so that they can cope (they alas did this lock down about 2 weeks too late. This lack of capacity is despite the fact that they have had over 2 months notice and they had pandemic planning and stores in place. We were even assured the NHS was exceptionally well prepared! Alas this planning did not consider how essential (and quite simple) medical equipment and PPE could be stored or at least manufactured very quickly and locally if needed.

    Only a couple of weeks back the Mayor of London was telling everyone how safe and well cleaned the Tube was now they are taking advert to tell people not to use them!

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 8:45 am | Permalink

      Yes we need to know more about the Cygnus report. This mapped an outbreak such as the one we have in late 2016 by the Imperial College team who seem to be front and centre now. There was no point in this report being prepared and presented if no action was taken. We need to know who made the decision to ignore the evidence.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 9:45 am | Permalink

        Well, it wouldn’t have been anyone in a Labour government, would it?

        • Fred H
          Posted March 29, 2020 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

          of course not, they would have been smarter, wouldn’t they Martin?

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

            That’s not quite the point being made, is it?

            No one is saying that the people reading the report were too thick to understand it and its significance.

            The commenter, I assume, would like to know who decided to take a very big chance.

        • dixie
          Posted March 30, 2020 at 10:43 am | Permalink

          There are certainly questions over who did what following the report’s publication.

          But the opposition are paid to hold the government to account, so did the Labour politicians do what they are required and paid to do or did they choose to ignore that report because there was no real political advantage at the time?

    • NeverCrushedBrexit
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      “They did this lockdown 2 weeks too late”.

      At that time there were 6 deaths and 356 cases!

      Laughable to suggest the whole Countrty should have been locked down at that point.

      The Government could never have got away with it.

      The lock down happened at the right time.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

        No. It 365 cases “that had been tested” perhaps 20 to 100 times that number who were carrying it and passing it on and who had not been tested. Schools, restaurants, pubs, gyms and the likes could easily have been closed down and more distancing encouraged far more

        We could see exactly what was happening in Italy and elsewhere at that time. It is hard now not to see the NHS capacity being overwhelmed and many thousands dying as a result of this.

        • acorn
          Posted March 29, 2020 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

          Only one UK citizen in a thousand has been tested for this virus so far. Iceland has managed 26 per thousand; the Emirates 13 per thousand. Sweden and Ireland have tested at least 40 – 50% more than the UK.

          You would have thought that it would be vital for a laissez faire neoliberal Conservative government, to be doing its damnedest to protect its Worker Bees, in-order to protect its global corporate profits!

          • Edward2
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

            Oh acorn you really love the phrase
            laissez faire neo liberal….
            It’s in nearly every post you make
            Where is this magical society?

          • Libertarian
            Posted March 30, 2020 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

            Yes Acorn Iceland population 365,000
            Population Emirates 9 Million
            Population Sweden 10million
            Population Ireland 5 million

            So all of them smaller than London, Iceland smaller than population of Hammersmith, Fulham & Chelsea

            Sweden hasn’t locked down at all and like Netherlands went for “herd immunity” . According to fact check Sweden tested 14,000 people then stopped testing

            Ireland has tested 7,000 people

            The biggest private sector employers are the 5.8 small business

            No idea what you think laissez faire means , but you are clearly still clueless.

            ps Do NOT confuse France with South Korea or Faroe Islands with Switzerland when reporting on this

            Much love

            Libby in excile , stuck in France

        • NeverCrushedBrexit
          Posted March 29, 2020 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

          Laughable to suggest the whole Countrty should have been locked down 2 weeks before the Government did so. That is what you suggested.
          Only 356 cases and only 6 deaths at that time.
          No way that would ever have been allowed.
          So best to give up on that one. As you indeed now have.

          Now you are rowing back and suggesting other measures should have been taken earlier.
          Once again, not enough justification to support that should have happened nor if it would have been politically acceptable..

          Any attempts to blame the Government are falling on deaf ears across the Country. They have overwhelming support for the great job they are doing.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

        No, what should have happened is that people coming into the country should have been screened, and all cases followed up with rigorous contact tracing and isolation.

        That would have been quite practical at that stage, and it is what WHO pleaded for the country to do.

        Lock down was not indicated at that stage.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 29, 2020 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

          How do you screen half a million people arriving under free movement law?
          And that Is just the ones we manage to count.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 30, 2020 at 7:33 am | Permalink

            Early on it was not necessary to screen people from generally non-infected places.

            The great majority, that was.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 30, 2020 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

          Rubbish.If you want to screen properly you need to screen everyone coming here from any nations with infection.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 31, 2020 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

            Well, that’s what S. Korea did.

            And it has worked.

      • anon
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

        On which planet do you live? or are you trying still to engineer remain delay? It was clear from the Diamond Princess and non China data this was a big problem.

        If we were testing SK levels with isolation and mass production of kit. We would be in a position to help others rather than be asking for help. By volume manufaturing ventilators etc.

        Still im sure those who make the tough choices to not prepare based on the facts will be exonerated.

  2. SM
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    There are reports in today’s Daily Telegraph that 3 years ago, the NHS underwent a crisis test to see whether it could cope during a severe epidemic. The results showed that it was unprepared to a shocking degree (which will hardly come as a surprise to those of us who have seen the NHS from behind the screens).

    I can understand – to some extent – why this was not made public at the time, but I wonder what (if any) actions were undertaken by the Dept of Health and the NHS to rectify matters – as a Member of Parliament, do you have any information on this?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 6:31 am | Permalink

      Indeed we have seen at Mid Staffs, Alder Hey and countless other NHS hospitals and TRUSTS just how appallingly organised and grossly inefficient the NHS can be and how many suffer and die as a direct result – this despite some excellent and very dedicated front line staff. Such are top down state virtual monopolies.

      Has this information not been censored perhaps more would have been done to get the UK ready. I cannot forgive the pandemic planners for not (it seems) considering how we could arrange rapid manufacture or assembly locally of basic and fairly simple hospital equipment such as ventilators. This is as obvious as being able to store, manufacture or obtain ammunition locally for any war.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 6:39 am | Permalink

        It is this gross oversight from the Pandemic Planning “Experts” – that is the main reason the UK is now in lockdown and the economy is suffering so very badly.

        It is a mistake that will have far worse consequences than the idiotic decision by the top brass of London Fire Service to tell people to go back to their flats at Grenfell. Perhaps 1000 times worse in terms of deaths.

        • Nig l
          Posted March 29, 2020 at 7:16 am | Permalink

          If only you were in charge of everything, our lives would be perfect. Strange I don’t see you at the elbow of the PM?

          • miami.mode
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 9:32 am | Permalink

            N, there’ll be more of this now that the Dog and Duck is closed.

          • Narrow Shoulders
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 9:36 am | Permalink

            @LL how do you have this large contingency planning in a low tax society? You now want huge government intervention where previously you wanted government out of the way.

            In the private medical sector there would not be this level of contingency even if all NI contributions were diverted to the private sector so why do you now expect the NHS to have done so.

            The NHS now needs to mobilise and it seems to be doing so. Every country apart from Sweden (which already worked flexibly) has locked down its economy so what exactly would you have done differently.

            I do not agree with what has been done but in all honesty I can’t see how else it can be played morally or politically.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

            @Narrow Shoulders

            Easy government does the rather few things they do better than individuals and do them well. And keep out out of the many areas where they are rather useless.

            Much of what the government in the UK does it pointless or actively damaging. Much of it is hugely parasitic and delivers very poor or even negative value.

          • Narrow Shoulders
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

            You have previously told me that the state has business in health.

            Now it is one of the few things government can do better than individuals @LL. Next you will be back tracking on education.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 29, 2020 at 8:14 am | Permalink

          The cause of the deaths at Grenfell were the criminal actions of those who fraudulently fitted cheap, flammable cladding, reportedly.

          Please do not take the spotlight off them by scurrilous attacks on others who, with hindsight, made simple but tragic mistakes.

          • Richard1
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 9:36 am | Permalink

            It seems the cladding was fitted to prevent global warming.

            It is also true that no-one will heed advice to remain in a burning building for many years to come.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 10:02 am | Permalink

            Clearly the net zero carbon loons and climate alarmist who decided to clad the building at all and then did it totally incompetently were also to blame, as were building control people and fire regs.

            But it took me one look at the flames going up the outside of the building on TV very early in the fire and knew in seconds that they should certainly try to evacuate everyone immediately. Nearly all would have survived had they done so.

            These “expert” senior fire officers were suffering from idiotic, follow the rules, group think. Like rabbits caught in the headlights they were totally unable to see the blindingly obvious and to think in real time. Educated into stupidity.

          • Jiminyjim
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

            You use the word ‘reportedly’ and indeed need to. This issue is miles more complex than you claim, and to suggest that deaths were fraudulent criminality is misuse of this site. I suggest that you await the outcome of the very thorough investigation which the government instigated. You are given far more leeway on this site than you deserve

          • Anonymous
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

            The cladding was there to satisfy the tastes of Remain voting rich Londoners who had to look upon the blocks.

        • jerry
          Posted March 29, 2020 at 8:47 am | Permalink

          @LL; “the main reason the UK is now in lockdown and the economy is suffering so very badly. “

          No it is not, the lock-down and economic pain would have happened regardless during any pandemic, and the more people who fall ill will lead to longer economic pain, were effective vaccines are not available.

          Were Govt, nay, party politicos (not the “experts”) failed is in proper COBRA style supply chain planning for a pandemic, causing shortages of medical equipment and food on the shelves or direct-to-home deliveries, indeed has there been any planning done for the latter since 2016 – I suspect not.

          The UK government had warning about this pandemic, China flagged it up before Christmas, Italy flagged it up over a month ago, yet the govt has only just procured the manufacture of more ventilators despite the apparent warnings from the 2016 exercise, so why didn’t the UK ramp-up emergency supplies back in December?

          If the DT report is correct there will be no hiding place for the Tory party, they will not be able to polish their way out of this one – “Austerity” before peoples lives, just as the left have been saying since 2010.

      • SM
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 7:03 am | Permalink

        Just as there is no point in stockpiling ammunition if you have

        a) no guns, and
        b) no soldiers trained to fire them,

        there’s no point in having 1000’s of ventilators if you have

        a) no beds and all the absolutely necessary additional equipment+drugs, and
        b) no fully-trained staff

        I do wish you would understand, LL, that ventilators are not the simple universal panacea you pigheadedly insist them to be.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 29, 2020 at 9:52 am | Permalink

          And how do all these standby personnel, and the expensive materiale and property sit, with the Anglo-Saxon economic model?

          No change is possible until that is consigned to the dustbin of history, where it so handsomely deserves to be.

          However, the evidence for that necessity is now so salient, that it is impossible for even the most deluded to ignore.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

            You do not have standby personnel just an ability to train people or redirect people quickly when needed. You do not have lots of expensive materials either just basic tooling, a decent plan and an ability to obtain what you need to make or obtain all the components locally. They have had over two months notice of this after all!

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

            I don’t think that you are considering all the various aspects of this in sufficient depth at all.

            There’s no “just” to any of it.

          • Anonymous
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

            Wouldn’t have needed it at all, Martin, if the communists had grounded flights straight away.

            Better still, stopped eating bats.

            Free at the point of use healthcare is bound to be overwhelmed all the time (countless self inflicted conditions without care) and that’s without considering an unidentifiable pandemic.

            What was the NHS supposed to do since 1918 ? Stock vast numbers of masks with a shelf life of a few years, restocking them all the time ?

            Magic Money Tree

            Magic Money Tree

          • Anonymous
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

            Martin is determined to show that communism is the solution to this when it was communism that caused it.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

            No, I’m not a communist, marxist or what you will.

            Accordingly, I believe in stronger laws to protect private property rights than nearly all the right-wing commenters here do.

            They want to pull out of ECHR, and so lose the Right To Peaceful Enjoyment Of Possessions.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 29, 2020 at 10:10 am | Permalink

          If you read what I said:- “I cannot forgive the pandemic planners for not (it seems) considering how we could arrange rapid manufacture or assembly locally of basic and fairly simple hospital equipment ‘such’ as ventilators.”

          I am not a doctor, I am a Maths/Physics/Engineering person. The pandemic planner (one assumes) knew what medical equipment might well be needed in a pandemic and what would be in short supply. All they need to do was make sure this could me made quickly and locally if needed in an emergency with tooling, instructions and the likes.

          Let us hope are defence planning people are not so incompetent. I suspect they are.

        • anon
          Posted March 29, 2020 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

          No ventilator means very likely death. With a ventilator (semi trained or untrained staff) you have a better chance.

          If we had surplus we could ship them to where needed. Preferably via hospital ships with flight decks etc.

          Overseas Aid? £12bn a year?

      • Nig l
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 7:23 am | Permalink

        Another excuse for one of your favourite rants, the NHS. I find it very good, indeed the care we had for a 24 week pre med baby weighing less than 2lbs, was extraordinary. Frankly I view your ongoing bile with contempt.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 29, 2020 at 10:14 am | Permalink

          It can indeed be good and some people on the front line are excellent, saintly and hard working. But the system is often hugely inefficient and even totally incompetent. It is not bile it is the truth.

          Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Maternity unit for example.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

            These unpleasant facts cannot be denied.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 6:56 am | Permalink

      It seems that over 1000 organisations took part in this Cygnus excise and yet none it seems asked (or at least acted on) the blindingly obvious! How will we be able to make such extra medical equipment as may be needed in a pandemic (and train operators) very quickly indeed (locally if that is needed)?

      Doubtless the exercise cost far more than it would have cost for one decent engineer to organise and put all this in place. Basic tooling, some critical parts and a plan for rapid ventilators, PPE and other likely to be needed hospital equipment production. planning.

      • dixie
        Posted March 30, 2020 at 11:05 am | Permalink

        Well Mr Cost-is-everything-until-I-found-out-a-virus-doesn’t-care-how-rich-you-are, will you now be a champion for extensive re-shoring of our STEM capabilities, giving priority to local production and employment?

        Or, where the heck were you over the last 30 years as our strategic capabilities have been dumped, sold and given away to our commercial and political competitors.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 30, 2020 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

          I am always in favour or more STEP capabilities and far fewer lawyers, PPE graduates, liberal arts, gender studies and other such usually (innumerate and scientifically illiterate) graduates in general. I would make people pay for their own hobby subjects not give them soft loans for them.

          To reduce to number of lawyers you need to have sensible laws that meany we do not need so many. We could managed with about 1/5 of the number we have.

          • dixie
            Posted March 31, 2020 at 6:53 am | Permalink

            Not good enough.

            STEM at uni’s is not enough, if there is not a critical mass and range of local employment they go elsewhere. Not helped by uni’s moving too focus on foreign students and foreign campuses.

            You need to demand local goods, parts, manufacturing and employment and recognise you lose that when you solely focus on the lowest cost.

  3. Pefect
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 6:04 am | Permalink

    I love the self-isolation. I love others being isolated from me in including my Council.
    No continual noise from a nearby road 24/7. No loud and potentially violent teenagers on the street. No noise from the Council 8am -4pm doing unnecessary repairs in the street.
    It is my kind of heaven apart from potentially dog walker hunting helicopters and now vandalism of a water facility by the owners of the helicopters ..but, I don’t live in Derbyshire, so that’s okay.Near perfect existence. Not a care in the world.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 6:32 am | Permalink

      +1

    • Bob Dixon
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 6:36 am | Permalink

      However we have a plague of cyclists.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 7:00 am | Permalink

        Indeed and they creep up on you silently. Many even exceeding the speed limits. I was nearly hit quite badly in BLOOMSBURY while back by a bicycle courier – going almost silently, the wrong way down a one way street at great speed.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 29, 2020 at 7:01 am | Permalink

          Needless to day he thought is was my fault.

      • Everhopeful
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 8:57 am | Permalink

        Cyclists…not really in the spirit of lockdown?
        Totally agree with Pefect!

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      Pefect – Did you know that Derbyshire had/has ( not been on that road for ages ) signs on the A6 between Derby and Matlock that your speed can be checked by helicopter? A REAL one – not a drone.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 30, 2020 at 7:37 am | Permalink

        You forgot the “not a lot of people know that”.

  4. Lifelogic
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    On March 12 Italy had about the same total number of deaths (just over 1000) as the UK did yesterday.

    Yesterday they had had 10,023 total deaths and this still increasing at about 10% day on day, 3856 people in intensive care and 26,676 people hospitalised with the condition. (Italy seems more honest and give the hospital figures unlike the UK).

    This is surely about where the UK can expect to be in about 16 days time. Let us hope our lock down works better and that the NHS is finally getting properly prepared.

    Boris says he “has to level with us” but he, the Government and the NHS are, of course, doing nothing of the sort. Given the above it is hard to see Italy (or indeed the UK) coming out of it with much fewer than 30,000 deaths. Short of some miracle treatments being found to lower the mortality rates.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 7:17 am | Permalink

      Surely anyone who is badly effected by this virus should be able to choose to die quickly and painlessly (if they wish) – and to thus release equipment to save others with rather better chances.

      But doubtless the religious types in Parliament and the Lords will allow no such thing. People will be expected to die slowly and painfully instead. Doing this slow death to an animal would probably be a criminal offence – but not it seems for humans who want to opt for it – Humans have to suffer slowly and then die.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 7:52 am | Permalink

        humans who want to opt out of it – I meant

    • Glenn Vaughan
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 8:16 am | Permalink

      Lifelogic

      Thanks for your daily morale-boosting messages!

      Living with you must seem as much fun as growing old with Edward Heath.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 10:49 am | Permalink

        It is very offensive indeed to compare me to Ted Heath! He was completely wrong on almost everything he did and touched. We are still extracting the UK from the appalling mess he largely created by joining the “Common Market” without even asking the authority of the voters plus his idiotic economic policies, wage controls, power cuts and the likes. Also by his lying that there was no loss of sovereignty in joining.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 29, 2020 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

          No, he did not say *no* loss of sovereignty.

          He said no loss of *essential* sovereignty.

          And on that point he was correct.

          The UK does not need to set different levels of maximum E. coli numbers in bathing water from the rest of Europe, or use food additives, which the consensus says should be banned, for instance.

          There were no lies from the join campaign.

        • Glenn Vaughan
          Posted March 29, 2020 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

          “It is very offensive indeed to compare me to Ted Heath!” Lifelogic.

          True. Heath’s company would have been much more jovial and uplifting despite his shambolic premiership.

      • jerry
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

        @Glenn Vaughan; “Living with [@Lifelogic’s daily doom and gloom] must seem as much fun as growing old with Edward Heath.”

        Or just living through Heath’s omni-shambles of a govt 1970-74, I have no doubt there will also be a baby boom come Christmas, I hope the Govt are planning ahead…

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      Yes, ten times that of China, with only about one-twentieth of China’s population each too.

      That tells a very big story indeed.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 10:42 am | Permalink

        Still accepting China’s figures I see Martin.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 29, 2020 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

          I reserve complete confidence, but do you have a better source than WHO?

          You don’t, do you?

          China’s information about SARS was accurate.

          Why should they start lying now?

          • Edward2
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

            You carry on Martin
            I mean a state controlled communist dictatorship has never kept deaths secret have they.
            The who just take the figures China gives them.
            You have “complete confidence” you say.
            I will remember that.

          • Jiminyjim
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

            Have you ever been to China, M i C? Your comments about SARS are without any foundation whatsoever. Why not try researching the issues you sound off about? You might just learn something. Oh no, of course that would never do as it might change your totally distorted and factless view of the world

          • anon
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

            People in power may have persuaded otherwise, many methods to achieve this. Investigations afterwards will i am sure dig into these potential conflicts of interest.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

            There may well be more than 3,200 dead in China.

            The epidemic may flare up once more too.

            But they seem to have made a pretty good job of stamping on it so far.

            This country is now only recording deaths in hospitals as CV, not at home or in care homes, so our true figures will probably be less reliable than the Chinese.

            I wouldn’t want to live there, under their system though.

          • dixie
            Posted March 30, 2020 at 11:23 am | Permalink

            I went into China via Macau in 1984, we were told by a Chinese official prior to entry that there were no beggars in China. 5 minutes later we exited the customs building to board a coach to go into GuangZhou, via a long double line of beggars.

            I like the Chinese people, they are generally industrious, pragmatic, don’t believe money falls from the sky, are polite and friendly. However I wouldn’t trust their government and the CCP on any basis on anything.

            The CCP attempt to claim the US was responsible for Covid is par for the course and laughable yet you seem to have bought into their propaganda even to claiming the US was the cause of Swine flu despite patient zero being in Mexico.

      • Know-Dice
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 10:51 am | Permalink

        And that story is?

        Probably China is economical with their figures…

        • jerry
          Posted March 29, 2020 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

          @Know-Dice; “And that story is?”

          Give the figures out of Asia, not just China, the lesson might be that the more regimented a society was before the Covid-19 pandemic the less likely the country is to suffer contagion resulting in a high death rate?

          Very noticeable that those UK citizens who have lived their entire lives in our self centred “Me & My-own” society seem to be the people having the most problems adapting to the lock-down.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

            It was the testing, isolation, and contact tracing which was key, according to WHO.

            The lockdown was necessary because of delay in the authorities grasping the seriousness of the position.

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 11:50 am | Permalink

        The Chinese welded people into flats and we don’t know what they were doing in those ‘hospitals’ nor the true numbers dead. What we do know is that they lied about this outbreak and arrested a young doctor who tried to report it (now dead) They failed to stop flights from their own country to prevent global spread.

        The wet markets have reopened with bat on the menu.

        I do hope you’re not suggesting communism is the solution.

        • JoolsB
          Posted March 29, 2020 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

          And what are the rest of the world doing to make sure China is never allowed to give anything like this to the rest of the world ever again? Nothing it would seem. China needs to be punished or one thing is for sure, this will not be the last time just as it isn’t the first.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 29, 2020 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

          “The wet markets have reopened with bat on the menu.”

          Where did you find that?

      • Fred H
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

        yes we should all smell a rat, or rather a bat.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 29, 2020 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

          The truth will be impossible to conceal for any country in just a few weeks.

          • Fred H
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

            what! truth from N.Korea, China, Russia, USA?
            Have you lost your marbles Martin?

          • Edward2
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

            Easy for closed socialist dictatorships like China and North Kored.

          • Jiminyjim
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

            Complete nonsense again, M i C, China will never reveal the truth about anything. It’s in their DNA

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

            OK, from Japan, Singapore, and S.Korea then, if you will?

    • steve
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 8:28 am | Permalink

      LL

      No one knows for certain but they’re now talking about deaths in the region of 20,000.

      I’d say your estimate of 16 days is in the right ball park, at least let’s hope so.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 10:18 am | Permalink

        16 day to be at about 10,000 deaths as Italy is now – but perhaps another month to the peak number of people in hospital before it then starts to slow down.

        • Anonymous
          Posted March 29, 2020 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

          50 of them doctors.

      • Stred
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

        Some people have started to make ad hominem attacks on the scientists who quickly did the computer modelling and predicted up to 510k deaths and hopeful lower numbers if we changed to full suppression like Italy, but not of course like China without even the mayor’s clean uncrowded trains. The figures could only be estimates and it is quite right to change them as more information comes in from abroad and this country.
        In some ways we now don’t need computers, as Italy, Spain and France are in a similar position and provide a working model. The number of infected people now locked down will be similar and the medical and essential workers too. We just have to hope that the pattern of increase is less and not more. The lack of protection for UK health workers including carers, ambulance staff and not just NHS ward staff does not look like a helpful factor.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      To be fair, he wasn’t the one confronted with a report in 2016 which predicted this outbreak and did nothing about it.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 10:21 am | Permalink

        No who was?

        Jeremy Hunt and Cameron I assume? Who decided to censor it?

        • jerry
          Posted March 29, 2020 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

          @LL; No one censored the report, it just wasn’t acted on.

          The fact that the DfH commissioned a report on NHS readiness should a pandemic occur suggests the blame doesn’t lie with the DfH, suspicions must surely point towards Downing Street – after all that is from where “Austerity” was being masterminded from.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 29, 2020 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

          Plus perhaps Rudd and/or May involved as Home Secretary?

      • anon
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

        – some of (local) surge manufacturing plans etc could have been pre-planned or pre-contracted etc leaving just the order to “go”.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      LL – My overlay graphs using figures from here – https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/#countries

      Using Italy as the base line, at the 233 total point we were 14 days behind Italy, using March 28th figures we are 16 days behind. Hopefully this trend will continue.

      France has gone from 10 days at 233 to 12 days on 28th…

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

        Indeed. Let us hope our lock down works better than Italy’s and Spain’s has done so far and that the NHS manages to cope somehow.

  5. Mark B
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    Once again, thank you Sir John.

    As capacity builds in the NHS . . .

    My personal view is that this is key. The government has made it clear that it has caused this shutdown of the UK economy in order to protect the NHS from over demand. If it can tackle this then it can lift, or at the very least, ease restrictions and get the country back to work. The sooner it can do all this the less the economic damage and further financial measures needed.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      But the second wave……

      • Mark B
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

        I was in my local supermarket. At the checkout I spoke to a lady in the queue. She was a nurse. Apparently, according to her, this virus has been in the UK since October ! I was unsurprised by this as I heard a podcast by James Delingpole and stated that he had the Chinese Flu but, at the time did not know it was Coronavirus. This was at the time of the BREXIT leaving do.

        • Narrow Shoulders
          Posted March 30, 2020 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

          If the virus had been around since October then so would stretched ICU units. The speed with which it has taken hold suggests we would have noticed.

          I was on a call today with a co worker who seems to have recovered from the virus in the last week. She said that one of the symptoms was a loss of the sense of taste and smell. Even now that had not returned.

          Two other callers complained of a loss of the sense of taste and smell recently one of whom was in Spain.

          This tells me exposure within the population is quite widespread.

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 10:57 am | Permalink

      The sooner the better – completely agree

  6. Cheshire Girl
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    Out of 8 comments, so far, 5 are by the same person.

    So much for Sir Johns plea(several times) to keep comments to a reasonable amount, and brief.

    Just saying…..

    • SM
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      Seconded.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      The Trolls seek to shut down discussion and debate that doesn’t meet with their approval

      Most of us enjoy Sir Johns hard work and diligence in providing this blog.

      Clearly some of the thoughts from else where seek to suck the energy from anything positive. You have to believe that when the walk in a room as they suck in energy the lights go dim.

      just saying….

      • Fred H
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

        Ian – – and many more agreeing.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

        What a negative post.

        • Fred H
          Posted March 29, 2020 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

          what a negative series of posts, but from whom?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

        No – that is not me it is probably the absurd expensive, intermittent, renewable agenda or those idiotic, slow, dim, mercury filled, unpleasant compact fluorescent lighting that EU rammed down out throats.

        Thanks goodness we now and decent and even more efficient LED lighting.

    • jerry
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      @CC; It’s not the number of comments from the ‘same people’ [1] that are the problem its their immediate and early wish to go way off topic (to a point of posting in Blue Peter style, here is one I prepared yesterday…), often our hosts wish for us to debate his blogs subject gets totally stymied…

      [1] pour host has said he prefers short comment, some have become very good at splitting their comment

    • Mark B
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

      If our kind host was of a mind he could :

      a) hold their posts in moderation.

      b) delete their posts.

      All of which I, and a few others, have had it done too. And I do not always post that often. But he allows it so . . . ?

  7. chris dark
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    There are other reasons for reducing the time of this lockdown, apart from economic. The sheer stress of being closeted away for weeks on end. Personally I can cope with quite a lot of isolation, I am a loner by nature…but I have also seen the growing paranoia in numerous people while out on my government-permitted trips for food. There are folk screeching at each other for accidentally violating their personal space. We now have the police encouraging the public to snitch on others and report them for minor transgressions. Drones chasing dog-walkers.
    Never mind the virus. The nation’s health will be in tatters due to mental breakdown if this lockup is prolonged. BBC, ITV et al should be severely punished for the intense panic-mongering they are laying upon the gullible, but I’m not holding my breath. The country is being destroyed; remember “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few”.

  8. Ian Wragg
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    No one mentions Sweden where life goes on more or less normal. They have taken a more pragmatic view and decided not to trash their economy on unproven science.
    If their infection rates are similar or less than us it will have been for nothing.
    Watch this space.

    • Richard1
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      Indeed the comparison will be interesting.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      No, you cannot infer that.

      Sweden has a very prominent Civil Emergencies Authority (or similar), and has for years engaged its public seriously on what to do under these circumstances.

      They have never been indoctrinated with rubbish such as “there is no such thing as society”, they are a highly civic-minded, educated people, and can be trusted to do the right thing without loss of freedoms.

      • Richard1
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

        You are talking complete nonsense. They have simply chosen a different way of dealing with this problem.

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

        Usual tripe from you. What has a CVA got to do with keeping businesses, schools, bars and pubs open.
        Sweden will provide a very good comparison when the dust settles and whats the betting their mortality rate will be the same or less than ours.
        Italy is a special case as they had thousands of Chinese working in the north.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 29, 2020 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

          If people can be trusted to follow guidance then they do not need rules.

          The guidance was tried here and failed, so rules were brought in.

          The guidance worked in Sweden however, so they did not need the rules.

          Comparison between the two countries on this matter would prove nothing, therefore.

          It would just show that British society and people are probably different from Sweden’s.

      • rose
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

        What you are saying is that they are an homogeneous society. Actually , they aren’t any longer.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 30, 2020 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

          What I was saying was what I said and nothing else.

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      We should with some urgency follow the path and example of Sweden

      You think this is difficult for business and employment now, just wait a couple of months when those SMEs go bust

      • jerry
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

        @glen cullen; Indeed we should follow the path and example of Sweden … were far higher social security, living wage and health services are provided with people happy to pay a little higher percentage of tax to provide a better society for all.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

        You would have to turn the British into a people like the Swedes to do that.

        You’ve absolutely no hope of doing that with about, oh, let’s say, seventeen million of them.

        • Fred H
          Posted March 29, 2020 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

          For a few seconds I thought ‘he wants 17m St. Gretas’, then I thought ‘no, he wants the other 50m of us to be St.Gretas’.

          Material for another dystopian vision?

        • Jiminyjim
          Posted March 29, 2020 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

          Usual anti democratic nonsense, M i C

        • Edward2
          Posted March 29, 2020 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

          You are desperately clinging on to a false idea that Sweden is a socialist paradise.
          Perhaps the only one you have left to point to that isn’t chaotic.
          How mistaken you are.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

            No, I’m not.

            From where do you get this apparent delusion that you can read people’s minds?

          • jerry
            Posted March 30, 2020 at 5:17 am | Permalink

            @Edward2; Whilst you are desperately clinging to your capitalist paradise, despite the fact that the only one left (the USA, perhaps the only one you have left to point to that isn’t chaotic) has had to side-step in the last couple of days towards $2t worth of greater Federal intervention.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 30, 2020 at 7:07 am | Permalink

            Your idea is that Sweden has taken the actions it has due to its happy clappy socialist population who all love one another and behave better than us.
            Which is complete nonsense.

            And Jerry your post has no relevance to the actual argument.

          • jerry
            Posted March 30, 2020 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; Indeed. My comment has the same relevance as yours do, irrelevant to anything MiC was saying!

            You might not like the fact but MiC is correct, Swedish society and politics are quite different to those UK, just as those UK is quite different to the USA.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 31, 2020 at 7:39 am | Permalink

            I didn’t say that Sweden’s society was the same as UK or that the UK is the same as USA.
            Martin was pushing the false idea that Sweden is a lovely well behaved socialist society (which it isn’t) and that is why it has taken the decisions it has over the way to tackle the virus crisis.

          • jerry
            Posted March 31, 2020 at 11:53 am | Permalink

            @Edward2; Talk about the pot trying to call the kettle black, MiC said nothing of the sort, he merely pointed out that Swedish politics and society is nothing like that of the UK’s, and that to follow the Swedish path (as suggested by glen) one would have to be more like them – it was you who brought Socialism into the discussion!

          • Edward2
            Posted March 31, 2020 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

            You love pots and kettles Jerry.
            But I will be happy to let you have the last word on this.

    • Original Chris
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      A very important point, IW.

  9. Richard1
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Prof Ferguson, whose study projecting 260,000 deaths jolted the govt into the lock-down, away from the previous course, has revised his estimate of deaths to 5,600, a couple of days into the lock-down. Let’s hope his revised view is correct. Meanwhile another study says 45m people at least may have already had it and will now be immune.

    Let’s also recognise that ‘the science’ is all over the place.

    • Richard1
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      Another study suggest 2.6m might have had it. That feels more likely based on the number of people one knows of who seem to have had or got it. Of course all these scientists are doing their best, and the govt are right to pay close attention to their advice. But it’s useful to be reminded of the extent to which expert opinion can vary.

      The Swedish equivalent to prof Whitty has said it is important to balance the virus-suppressing advantages of lock-down again the economic (and therefore also consequent health and social) costs. A wise remark which is informing public policy in Sweden, but one which if uttered by President Trump or by Boris would produce howls of outrage from all our newly ‘qualified’ virologists on social media and elsewhere and those who relish the anti-business rhetoric and effect of lock-down.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

        What is a life worth? £10,000, £100,000, £1 million or £10 million, £100 million. How much does it cost to save a life with better health care, or on the roads, in work accidents, better health screening, health education schemes, deterring murders…

        Might £100,000 (just 1/1,000,000 of the cost of HS2) spent on sensible pandemic planning (so as to be able to make ventilators, PPE and other medical equipment within the ample time of two+ months) have saved some 50,000 lives? Just £2 each. We shall see.

        • Richard1
          Posted March 29, 2020 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

          Indeed it would have been better to plan for a pandemic than eg spend £4bn so far on HS2. There is a human and health cost to lock-down also. A depression has negative health consequences, and there will be many people with other medical conditions who either don’t get treated or get delayed or inferior treatment. I’m in favour of trying to crush the curve. I can’t see how this can go on much beyond Easter.

        • rose
          Posted March 29, 2020 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

          Our benighted media keep telling us there is a choice to be made between the economy and health. Between money and lives is what they mean. But the two go together as you would think they would remember from their oft repeated left wing slogan “austerity cost lives.”

          If we crash the economy all over the Western world, how many lives is taht going to cost? Let alone livelihoods. If we keep people under house arrest, what happens to the rate of domestic murders, suicides, obesity, diabetes etc etc? Breast screening has been stopped. How many more deaths now from undiagnosed cancer? and there are all the other examples like that.

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

        Our two, Whitty and Vallance, did originally speak of balance, and of herd immunity, before Ferguson and the mad media sabotaged them.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 30, 2020 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

        Science has to accept – unlike commenters here – that until a thing is proven to be impossible it remains a possibility.

        The range of possibilities in relation to this virus and its properties is therefore very wide.

        That is not the same as being “all over the place”, and that is the dullard’s interpretation of these different possibilities being described by scientists.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 30, 2020 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

          I thought you told us the science is settled.
          Make your mind up.
          Only settled on the areas you agree with it seems.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 31, 2020 at 10:18 am | Permalink

            You appear to be confusing me with someone else, and who was writing on a different topic too.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 31, 2020 at 11:13 am | Permalink

          You said above that science has to be open to various possibilities in the current Covid 19 crisis.
          Yet your view on climate change is that the science is settled and disent from the consensus view is wrong.
          So I am not confused at all Martin.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      Some science is better than others, indeed some presented as such isn’t science at all.

      Antibody testing will in due course reveal the rubbish, however,

    • Fred H
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      its not science it is conjecture.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      I hope they are right at 5,600 but think somewhere between 20,000 and 30,000 is more likely. Unless some treatment is found that can reduce deaths.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

        There will be a lot fewer than 5,600 deaths from Coronavirus. Imperial College must be closed down when their modelling is exposed. We need testing ASAP so those who are recovered or immune can go back to work. ps according to the stats no British people recover! So much for the geniuses and their predictions – and they have been working in ‘Climate Change’ on the same basis.
        Boris needs to calm down! Imagine of Churchill had been in a similar bloody panic!

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 29, 2020 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

          Imperial College “closed down”?

          What, even mechanical engineering, say?

          What a strange post.

        • Richard1
          Posted March 29, 2020 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

          That is not a sensible suggestion

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 30, 2020 at 5:02 am | Permalink

          I how there will be fewer than this number of death but without some miracle treatment that improves outcome it is very unlikely,

          Lots of university are fairly useless and should be closed down or converted back to teaching more practical skills. Imperial is one of the better ones though even they teach subject that are of little value. I do not mind this but think students should not get soft loans to do this they should pay for themselves for hobby subjects.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 30, 2020 at 7:45 am | Permalink

            The. NHS. Does. Not. Do. Experimental. Therapy.

            Sorry, but we’ll probably just have to sit and watch the ghastly tally rise relentlessly unless there is a paradigm, change.

          • Fred H
            Posted March 30, 2020 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

            MARTIN – your.fullstop. has. a . mind. of .its. own.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

      That is it ! He made some doom laden figure to force the government to do something that is drastic then, I argue, provides what would be the eventual figure irrespective if we shut the economy down or not. That way he can claim to have been always right.

  10. agricola
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    Almost everyone seems to be being very British in their comments this morning, moaning about this and that and what might have been. I think we all need to get real and learn to live with the situation as it is. In that much hackneyed phrase concerning the need for lesson learning yes, when the worst is over by all means have an informed discussion on how we could do better in similar circumstances. However never forget the hours being put in, the grave risks being taken, and no doubt the compassion that will come with the service given by those at the sharp end of the NHS. Be wise enough to realise that day one onwards of the war we are waging is never quite the same as the war we prepared for.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      @Agricola are you still in Spain.

      Why are their infections still going up two weeks after lockdown? Any ideas

      • agricola
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

        Yes I am still in Spain. To your second question I do not know. If I did, so would many epidemiologists, which suggests even they do not know. The precautions they are taking at the supermarket seem to be as good as you could expect, disinfecting hands on entry, plastic gloves for everyone, only disinfected trolleys in use, and 2.0 metre separation at choke points such as weighing , check out, and queue to designated check out. I might add that there is no shortage of anything, be it fish, meat, charcuterie, cheese, fruit , vegetables and all the stuff that comes in bottles, cans and packets. The only people who panic buy are not Spanish and most of them have already gone home.

        The concentrations of coronavirus seem to be in the large cities at present, Madrid as with London. I cannot report on how the behaviour in such places causes such hotspots because travel is not allowed. We have plenty of the three types of police to ensure that people can only travel to supermarkets, farmacias, for fuel, and to medical centres.

        It is conceivable that the disease took root in Spain two weeks earlier than in the UK and you in the UK must anticipate it getting worse before it peaks. In reality I don’t know.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

        It is not a full lock down, transmission in hospitals, and the essential workers, some people are locked down with others who are infected or close to them, not every one obeying, transmission on animals perhaps, some develop the infection slowly and have had it over two weeks ago already perhaps?

      • dixie
        Posted March 30, 2020 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

        Won’t there be a delay of weeks since a crucial element of Covid-19 is that people can be infected and contagious for some weeks before showing symptoms.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

      . . . learn to live with the situation . . .

      Sorry but I disagree. I will not accept what amounts to House Arrest !

      • agricola
        Posted March 30, 2020 at 4:38 am | Permalink

        Here in Spain your options are limited. Ignore the rules and risk your own life and that of others until the Guadia Civile arrest, fine, and imprison you. You might get away with it a little longer in the UK because the law is as scarce as hens teeth. Wherever you insist upon you right to infect others, it is highly irresponsible.

  11. Alan Jutson
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Agree on line shopping and delivery or click and collect as a second option for food shopping still needs to be massively increased, so that people do not need to go out.

    But:

    Given the vast numbers of people still waiting to go inside Supermarkets, I guess they must be the new hotspot for possible infections, but still no sanitiser or jell stations outside, or at the entrance.

    WHY !.

    • Stred
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      MIT medical research suggests that the 2m spacing is insufficient and it should be 8m. In this strong wind, if someone came towards me upwind we keep well clear and cross the road. I wouldn’t queue in a supermarket for half an hour and, if I ever was forced to, would wear a high grade mask and disposable gloves. But that’s because I am grade one vulnerable.

      For younger fit people, such as builders on the big sites which include a high proportion of younger immigrants, the virus is not a great problem and the sooner they get a mild infection and become immune the better. Then the economy can resume. The important thing is that they don’t pass it on to the vulnerable and that the isolated can be supplied with necessary items and that, if they need other treatment in hospital, the ambulances are disinfected and staff have masks and gloves etc.

      I hear on Marr that Labour is pushing for the economy to be closed further and would rather not talk about the tax rises ot point out that we are already taxed very highly and that those who are self employed with £50k pa to pay for the family will be left without help and be expected to cough up in advance again next January.

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      Our supermarket used to be open 24 hrs. Then they stopped that ( a couple of years ago, NOT due to this virus ), but staff still work at night. Now people are forced to queue all round the car park waiting to be allowed in. Why not re-open at night to customers to ease the problem?

      • Alan Jutson
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

        bigneil

        Exactly, the excuse given is that they want to restock the shelves hence they need to close.

        Complete and utter rubbish. Supermarket shelves are restocked during the day whilst shoppers shop, as well as at night, happens every day, we have all seen it !

        For goodness sake, we have millions of people not working at the moment who want to work.
        The supermarkets could be open 24 hours a day with lots of temporary staff, which would lessen the queue to get in.
        The food could be delivered in vans which are stood idle, as not all goods require refrigerated vehicles.

        We need longer opening hours, not shorter ones, meanwhile the taxpayers are paying out millions for some people to stand idle.

        Is the problem regulation JR, are our employment laws and tax 7 benefit system a hinderance.

        Is it really a full blown crisis, or a just a selective management crisis arrangement.

        Seems like no real energy, urgency or will behind some of these arrangements at all.

        For those worried about social distancing, then close off an isle at a time whist the shelves are being filled.

  12. Norman
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    You strive for balance, Sir John, which is so refreshing, and reflects the value of feedback.
    May I say, I agree with your letter – basically, we must not take an absolutist approach – rather an ‘epidemic smoothing’ strategy. The virus must eventually be met head-on, otherwise the old and frail will always be at risk every time they socialize henceforth. The population at large will become immune within a few months, and those who get the disease in a severe form will be able to be safely hospitalized (and hopefully receive therapeutic drugs like the quinones). In due course, there will also be vaccination. Meanwhile, the thrust of the current policy must be to balance this ‘temporal smoothing’, with rescuing the economy ASAP – hopefully in weeks, not months.

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      We have been in effective lockdown for over 2 weeks now

      If there are no increases of coronavirus in a given location that location should be considered and marked as free of the virus and lockdown conditions managed and reversed

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

        Yes! And people should be able to opt out of the NHS and lockdown. Personally I would pay money to be opted out of the NHS, filth hospitals, more MRSA deaths pa than Coronavirus deaths, simply abominable and costing an independent fortune!

  13. Roger Phillips
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Sir John
    I mentioned in previous comments there are many of us that have changed employer during Feb and do not qualify with our new employer if we started work with them in March, this gaping hole needs to be addressed ASAP as I and many other working adults have now been reduced to claiming universal credit as the only viable option. I have never had to claim any work related benefit since leaving school and feel very unfairly treated at this moment in time.

    • a-tracy
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      Yes I have a couple of new employees who I may have to furlough who now fall through the crack, perhaps the government could look at their last three years P60’s and allow me to furlough them on that amount if I need to partially close?

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 11:13 am | Permalink

      And you’ll be expected to look for work while businesses are going bust and not hiring

  14. Christine
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    We might have food and medicine now but for how long? This country cannot feed itself. The rise in population has been a betrayal of the British people by politicians for the last 50 years. It seems that it’s every country for itself now. Government should be encouraging farmers to produce more by guaranteeing purchase of their products. Get rid of quotas and land set aside. Use the thousands of students currently sat doing nothing as a land army to help farmers pick crops. The current key workers will soon become exhausted. Ensure where possible companies have a back up. Trades people cannot work as they cannot get supplies as builders merchants are closed. Soon breakdowns will impact key business. It will be a domino effect.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

      +1

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

      The law of unintended consequences, ask any business they understand the consequences, thats why many of them are already planning for a huge downturn in business activity…many will not recover

    • Andy
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

      Most of the population growth over the last 50 years has been caused by:

      1) More people being born as the Baby Boomers had children
      2) Lower infant mortality
      3) Longer life expectancy.

      But we know that is not what you mean because, as always with you lot, population is all about migration to you. Actually you and your family are part of the population problem too.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

        Nonsense
        There has been over 7 million new arrivals since 1997
        The biggest increase in our population in our history.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 30, 2020 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

          Since 1997 is not fifty years as Andy specified. It is twenty-three.

          Do you ever do commenters the courtesy of reading and understanding their posts, before groundlessly insulting them?

          • Edward2
            Posted March 30, 2020 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

            Andy deliberately used a 50 year timescale to average out the figures so as to try to make his point.
            Just as you could do if you used 200 years as a start point.

            So what I said was correct and not groundless at all.
            There has been a huge increase in our population caused by the level of immigration.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 31, 2020 at 10:19 am | Permalink

            What do you do?

          • Edward2
            Posted March 31, 2020 at 11:17 am | Permalink

            Well what I don’t do is, I don’t post endless left wing sniping and sarcastic heckles and then complain when many other people point out how wrong they are.

  15. George Brooks.
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    The statistics from Italy and Spain are frequently used to predict where we are heading with this virus, especially as far deaths of the older generation are concerned. These two countries still live as we did 60 to 80 years ago with the elderly living with their children and families occupying several houses/ flats in the same street/block. A high proportion of elderly in the UK today do not live with or near their children hence we have an acute social care problem.

    However because of this separation less of our elderly will be infected and the total number of deaths recorded will also be less. I also reckon that there is a huge number who have caught this virus but have not been recorded and never will be until a survey is conducted. I know of such a case in my road whereby a couple returned from the ski slopes, two weeks ago today, went down with Covid-19 the next day and thank heaven have recovered. They and thousands like then have not been included the figures.

    Therefore the government must not be over cautious and delay the re-start of the economy and as a guide it would be very easy to run an online survey.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

      Not only that, there are a number of other factors to consider. Smoking and air pollution being two of them. Northern Italy has very bad air pollution.

  16. Alec
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Why, if Covid 19 is such a huge threat, has The Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens (ACDP) just formed the opinion that COVID-19 should no longer be classified as an HCID (High Consequence Infectious Disease)?
    Why has the government taken such draconian measures when the alleged deaths from it are not subject to post mortem examinations and therefore may not have died from the disease at all? As the current bias is extremely towards blaming everything on Covid I suspect that many deaths from other causes are being included in the figures.
    Why has nobody questioned the infection rate when nobody has the remotest idea how many people have or have had a virus that may well not have any effect at all and therefore never be recorded in the statistics? If 50 million people have it and a few thousand die that is a tiny mortality rate that makes the present destruction of the economy insane.
    Neil Ferguson from Imperial College, one of the prime fear mongers wiith his flawed computer modelling, has now retracting his theory, saying he feels “reasonably confident” our health care system can cope when the predicted peak of the epidemic arrives in a few weeks. Why did we base the reaction to this outbreak on computer models that are as bad as the climate change computer models that told us all the ice at the poles would have melted 20 years ago?
    Why has Japan, who have not shut down their economy, had a less mortality than our (alleged) death toll? Also Mexico? Could it be that the bias, poor science and plain panic across large parts of the world are the problem?

    • Mark B
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

      The MSM, Labour and the Client State needed their new law / powers. PM Alexander Johnson has yielded to ‘expert opinion’ and media pressure. Very foolish, but understandable.

  17. Dunc.
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    Monthly death figures ,over all European countries ,show no increase in death rate compared with the 5 year average.
    Prof Ferguson whos 250,000 deaths model made the Government kill the economy has revised his number down to 5700 . So like a normal Flu season.
    This was the same man who got BSE and Foot/Mouth spectacularly wrong.

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      ” the same man who got BSE and Foot/Mouth spectacularly wrong” – maybe he’s hoping for Third Time Lucky?

    • IanT
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      If true, an interesting point Dunc.

      Did these people who died – die of Corona or just with it?

      There is a difference.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      Could you provide a link? – that seems very interesting

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 10:10 am | Permalink

      That low figure will only be thanks to the measures being taken – and only if they are effective which is far from certain.

      By your “logic” no one would ever do anything to prevent bad things from happening.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

        Professor Ferguson has made a bad thing happen that would not otherwise have happened. The British economy has been shut down and at least 1 healthy young girl has killed herself in fear of his words and predictions!

    • a-tracy
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      Perhaps Ferguson’s using a whole Country computation based on London alone.

      • Mark B
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

        Good point. High population centres are, and have always been the hotbed of pandemics.

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 11:20 am | Permalink

      MSM don’t like showing those figures

      On worldometer the number of UK serious or critical cases is 163 and has been for a few days…..everyone has mild conditions

      Thats 163 needing hospital treatment and 15,772 that don’t

      • glen cullen
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 11:21 am | Permalink

        should read
        everybody else (ie 15772) has mild conditions

    • Original Chris
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      Ferguson predicted 500,000 at one point, I understand.

      • Original Chris
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 11:48 am | Permalink

        There is a wonderful videoclip from Dr D Birx, who is on the White House CV task force. She is asked about the UK Imperial College modelling which apparently initially predicted 500,000 deaths in the UK and 2.2 million in the USA. Listen carefully to her answer. She couldn’t be more diplomatic but the message is clear.

        https://twitter.com/dcexaminer/status/1243380710783803394

        “If you remember that was the report that said there would be 500K deaths in the UK And 2.2M deaths in the US. They adjusted that number in the UK to 20K. Half a million to 20,000. We are looking into this in great details to understand that adjustment.” – Dr. Birx

        • Stred
          Posted March 29, 2020 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

          Imperial predictions included 510k if nothing done and alternative figures for other actions down to 20k if the full lock down was implemented quickly. We have gone for the lock down and so the figures estimated have been revised according to the latest input. They can only put the figures in and compute the epidemiology. Misunderstood figures and claimed mistakes aren’t helpful. They may have been wrong in the past about other subjects but this doesn’t mean that they are always wrong.

      • Alan Jutson
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

        O Chris.

        Think the 500,000 prediction was if the Government took NO ACTION AT ALL.

        It has taken some action, so the prediction now has come down, in the light of the action taken.

        Was it right in the first place, or indeed is it now.

        Only time will tell.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

        Yes, if the epidemic were allowed to propagate unchecked.

        That tallies with WHO predictions.

  18. Lifelogic
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    Hugh Pym (Oxford PPE yet again) the BBC’s Health Editor on Marr just now “the BBC does and extremely good job with the budget it has and is very efficient”. Efficient!

    Clearly like most people employed by the BBC he has not got a clue (unless he is just lying that is). Certainly not a clue about the NHS or alternative healthcare systems and structures. We will see how the NHS compares with Germany and the other countries healthcare models very soon.

    Hopefully once this is over the NHS structures can be improved hugely for the better. This alone could save more than the circa 30,000 death from this virus over the years to come if done sensibly (for once). Not that that is remotely likely.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 8:39 am | Permalink

      I wonder if he thinks the BBC is efficient too?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 10:31 am | Permalink

        Maybe he even thinks the UK state sector is very efficient too!

  19. NeverCrushedBrexit
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    About the Q&A session at the end of the Daily Virus Updates:-

    – Instead of allowing the puffed-up journalists to ask repetitive and derogatory questions of the Government, limit each journo to only 1 question. The Q&A is just an excuse for the “usual suspects” to continue their attack on behalf of the Left of politics. Weaponising this crisis is not helpful…nor clever.
    – Provide daily stats on key performance. Number of ventilators at the start, daily total deployed, planned number.
    – Provide an upodate on the number of people recovered from the virus in the UK. The number seems to be stuck on 135! Good for morale, to see that people are recovering.
    – Provide stats on PPE, and the number of beds available.

    Let’s learn something from the Q&A session, and stop allowing it to just be an exercise in attacking a Government, who are doing their very best at this extremely difficult time.

  20. DOMINIC
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    There are two defining events over the last 35 years in British politics that expose and reveal what the British people have to tolerate from our intolerable political class. One was the establishment lies and deceit following the Brexit vote, the other cannot be mentioned without incurring severe penalties. Both reveal a class of bureaucrats and State players who have no compulsion about indulging in campaigns of deceit, circumvention, demonisation, violence, intimidation, propaganda and official Stalin-esque condemnatory tactics

    And our esteemed host expects the British people put faith in what State advisers advise, what politicians say and what politicians do?

    Why is Burnham on my television 24/7 warning that employers are not enforcing rules regarding distancing? Dig into his history and it won’ take you long to uncover this politician’s grubby deceit

    We are being played like pieces on a chessboard.

    I’m trying to understand why this PM has deliberately trashed our economy? Is he trying to protect the NHS so that protects himself from media criticism? I believe that’s his intention. He’s driven not by a concern for our health but by a concern for his political standing

    Trust in government, trust in the police, and trust in politicians, trust in the State. There is no trust left. You have destroyed it, every politician is responsible for that breakdown in trust. Your deceitful behaviour, Your passing of laws in contravention of your principles, both personal and party.

    And now we are exposed to the most appalling North Korean style propaganda using TV, Twitter and various herding campaigns to inculcate group think. It is utterly abhorrent.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

      I agree.

  21. DOMINIC
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    CV-19 and China. What’s their role?

    Why is this country’s government and its Marxist State allowed anywhere near our country, its infrastructure and any aspect of our nation’s affairs?

    The truth is not in the open and we are paying the price for the Chinese government’s and the Chinese Communist Party’s malicious actions

    Labour and the Tories condemn Trump but remain silent on this most brutal of governments, China. There isn’t a term in the English language that describes the sheer hypocrisy of such a position

    The British people have no problem with the Chinese citizens (non-political) living in the UK. We all like the Chinese. We all despise their government

    • Everhopeful
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 9:09 am | Permalink

      I bet all this “approval rating” that Boris thinks he has comes from the hard left…like the pressure to close schools did.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      Well said. If China can infect the world with a new virus just Imagine what they could do to our communications and power systems.
      They should be ostracized for their actions.

      • bill brown
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

        Ian Wragg

        Interesting observation, but how would you make that possible with the second economic power in the World?

        • Ian Wragg
          Posted March 29, 2020 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

          You could stop them supplying goods and services for a start.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

        Mind boggles. This must be the end of Huawei in the UK.

        • glen cullen
          Posted March 29, 2020 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

          one would think

      • turboterrier
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

        Ian Wragg

        The way this is all panning out, is it not getting a bit like the Greek mythology story about Troy and the wooden horse?

        China designs a virus somehow let’s it escape into the adjacent live meat market and it spreads all throughout the civilised world who then all panic and destroy their economies in the hope to survive. What was once considered impregnable then falls like a house of cards leaving only one real beneficiary for all the financial chaos.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

        Should the world ostracise Africa for giving it HIV too? And the US for Swine Flu?

    • Bellboy
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      More tripe, if any were needed, about the muddled thinking that is going on in this country about countries far away- as if it were any business of ours or about how they should conduct themselves?

      • Richard1
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

        What’s very odd post. Of course human rights abuses, threats to world peace, allowing a dangerous virus to get started and then covering it up are subjects which people everywhere should be concerned about. I wonder who you are?

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      Whatever else you might say, the Chinese have ended their native epidemic, with only the loss of one life in three hundred thousand.

      The UK’s death rate is already five times higher than that, and with no end in sight.

      • Richard1
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

        Quite why the political left here are in full kow tow mode to the CCP is beyond me. With a population of 1.45bn, China would expect circa 50,000 deaths per day in the ordinary course. Do you find the declared number of virus deaths there credible?

      • Edward2
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

        There are reports in the press of how China are not allowing real figures to come out.
        Your faith in the figures released by a communist dictatorship is predictable but foolish.

      • hefner
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

        There are reports in the French press (see for example FranceInfo 29/03 13:33) that about 6500 urns are presently being returned to the families of people who died in Wuhan and were immediately cremated.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 29, 2020 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

          Quite possibly.

          However, WHO do seem to accept that the native epidemic has been extinguished there.

          The figures here, for CV deaths, now only include those who die in hospital, not at home or in care homes.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 30, 2020 at 7:11 am | Permalink

            The WHO accept Chinas figures.
            Come on Martin wake up.

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

        Martin.

        It started in China. The Chinese caused this through disgusting hygiene and animal cruelty practices.

        The Chinese obviously quarantined Wuhan from the rest of China whilst allowing flights to the rest of the world.

        Nice.

        • Anonymous
          Posted March 29, 2020 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

          Martin… Martin !

          Over here.

          Not for the first time the Communists burdened the rest of the world with a lethal virus.

          Will you STOP lying by intimating that Communism is the solution !

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 30, 2020 at 7:53 am | Permalink

            I imply no such thing.

            The S Koreans are pretty anti-communist.

            However, they are using the WHO-recommended measures to good effect.

            It is the facts of what is done that matter, not the political beliefs of those doing it.

      • Fred H
        Posted March 30, 2020 at 8:06 am | Permalink

        not counting Mao’s long march and little red book. Your prized possession?

  22. Everhopeful
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Reading the WHO guidelines ( and maybe those published are different from those given to govts?) I can only see that INITIALLY Boris followed their very moderate guidelines.
    Keep distance when greeting. Do soft shoe shuffle no handshake.
    No need to shut borders.
    Wash hands a lot.
    No travel or trade bans.
    It all sounds very moderate and I can’t see that they have changed their original stance…thoughI may have missed something.
    I reckon that someone has got at Boris because this is all utter madness.
    How immunologically and psychologically compromised are we all going to be when we are released?
    Sunshine D vit very a very important guard against corona viruses.

  23. ukretired123
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    Last week BT declared it had 60% more capacity to meet extra internet traffic whilst an online school learning expert says if every student goes online it won’t cope.

    Peak demand is now Noon to 9pm instead of rush hour and Video downloads restricted to SD not HD by Netfix etc., whilst ISPs give uncapped to NHS & key workers.

    Whilst the switching genius agility – ability of switching & re-routing is built-in the networks are going to be overloaded and stress-tested in realtime. GCHQ must be working flat out as Britain’s infrastructure is vulnerable to hostile activity.

    On a personal level I notice an increase in scammers with plausible “Your Amazon etc account is closing due to inappropriate activity ….. Blah, blah, blah and you need to …”
    I can see many folks being hoodwinked online.
    I just delete these and if it’s important be sent a letter or telephoned.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      there is massive over capacity on the back bone (between exchanges), the links from exchanges to consumers however can easily be overwhelmed, and there is little that can be done about that in the short term.

      • Fred H
        Posted March 30, 2020 at 8:03 am | Permalink

        the former fibre, the latter typically copper.

  24. Everhopeful
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Very interesting views of Dr Sucharit Bhakdi who is a specialist in microbiology. Vids and articles worth a look.

  25. Dave Andrews
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    We can’t go on indefinitely like this, so will the lockdown actually achieve eradication of the disease, or will it bubble up again immediately measures are relaxed? Or will the disease perish like others that have gone before? At some point everyone will have to go back to work and children back to school. Perhaps though the travel industry will have to be sacrificed.
    It seems to me that business that can continue should do so, and practise hygiene procedures robust enough to keep those vulnerable to the disease safe in the workplace, when they return to work.

  26. NeverCrushedBrexit
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Sir John.

    A little message for those attacking the brilliant efforts of the Government at this time of crisis:-

    “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

    Theodore Rosevelt

  27. Everhopeful
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    Surprising how much food can be bought online including local “box schemes”.
    Online butchers and fishmongers.
    Wholesale caterers happy to sell to families.
    Also newish genre of cupboard store meals. Long life meals online.
    I feel that supermarkets are a letdown so am trying all these alternatives.

  28. bigneil(newercomp)
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Why is it that reports say someone has died of this virus – then say the deceased had had COPD for years, smoked 50 a day for decades, had an oxygen supply and tubes up their nose 24/7 – BUT – the death is still blamed on the virus? Whipping up mass hysteria for the sake of it? Get the public used to being told they have to obey?

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

      Yes. And Doctors who have never seen the patient can sign the death certificate. So we will never know what the Coronavirus death rate is but we will know it’s substantially lower than claimed.

  29. James Bertram
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    The study that is driving all this panic (and often quoted by the BBC) is this: https://www.imperial.ac.uk/news/196496/coronavirus-pandemic-could-have-caused-40/
    No doubt, rubbish in = rubbish out.
    In their best case scenario with restrictions in place worldwide, they still expect 1.3 million deaths. The actual deaths so far, with restrictions delayed in many cases, is only 30,000. The study seems to be far from reality. Yet the world’s governments choose to act on it!
    Too, they seem to ascribe all deaths to those infected by the virus as solely due to the virus, and take no account that 99% (?) of these people are perhaps elderly, with a pre-existing condition, and so are likely to die anyway; (They use to call pneumonia as the ‘old man’s friend’) and thus, 40 million deaths worldwide is not much different from the annual worldwide death toll.
    What they do admit in the study is https://www.imperial.ac.uk/mrc-global-infectious-disease-analysis/news–wuhan-coronavirus/ ‘We do not consider the wider social and economic costs of suppression, which will be high and may be disproportionately so in lower income settings….’
    This is my main concern. These extreme measures will fundamentally damage the global economy. This results in further underfunding of health services globally, and malnutrition. Long-term this will cause far more deaths globally (particularly in Third World countries) than those these panic restriction measures are meant to save.
    One day common sense might prevail?

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      You can self register if you believe you have coronavirus with NHS 111online

      I just wonder if these figures are included in the total even without a test ?

  30. Polly
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    This article in the Daily Mail appears to suggest only 13 individuals out of 260 did not have underlying health conditions.

    ”A statement from the NHS said: ‘Patients were aged between 33 and 100 years old and all but 13 (aged between 63 and 99 years old) had underlying health conditions.’

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8164443/13-260-died-UK-yesterday-coronavirus-no-underlying-health-conditions.html

    If that is true, it looks like strong circumstantial evidence to support the research published in The Lancet……

    https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanres/article/PIIS2213-2600(20)30116-8/fulltext

    Polly

  31. 3/2020 - 322
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    John, who has ordered you all to end civilisation?

    • rose
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

      The mad media.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 30, 2020 at 7:54 am | Permalink

      What John’s party do has little effect across the Channel. What ever do you mean?

  32. alastair harris
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    There is a medical question to answer. Given the variations in its effect on different people, is this a function of the virus, or a function of different people? For example it seems fairly obvious that people at risk – those with underlying health issues which affect the ability of their bodies to deal with infection – are more likely to die than those not so at risk.
    Which begs the question, would it be more appropriate to isolate those at risk, rather than isolate the general population?

  33. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    I am not one of your constituents. The economic cost of the government imposed restrictions is massive. The Government measures to date will result in unfunded borrowing at the rate of £200 billion per annum, which is clearly unsustainable. We simply cannot afford these restrictions to last beyond the end of June at the very latest.

    Hopefully, the numbers of Coronavirus cases and deaths will be past their peak by then, but the restrictions must be removed no matter what. Old people do die and if some of them die a few years earlier, that is a price worth paying. I write this a 73 years old dialysis patient.

    It is high time that we took a more intelligent attitude towards old age and death. Everybody should be encouraged to write a living will by age 60, setting out inter alia what they want to happen to them if they become severely mentally or physically disabled. The taboo on suicide and assisted suicide should be lifted, with Dignitas allowed to open a branch in UK. To achieve this it may be necessary for the majority of this country – a mixture of atheists, agnostics and vague theists – to tackle head on the various branches of the God squad.

    • SM
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      Lindsay, I am in total agreement with you – and I’m a couple of years older and with a mild ‘underlying’ condition. Why can’t we put quality of life above quantity of life?

    • Norman
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

      Who was it said, ‘Thou shalt not kill’?

  34. 3/2020 - 322
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    who has ordered you to collapse civilisation?

    • Everhopeful
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      The Left.

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

        Correct !

  35. Polly
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    So what is the conclusion based on this NHS statement ?

    ”A statement from the NHS said: ‘Patients were aged between 33 and 100 years old and all but 13 (aged between 63 and 99 years old) had underlying health conditions.’’

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8164443/13-260-died-UK-yesterday-coronavirus-no-underlying-health-conditions.html

    Should countries be locked down so severely for such a low rate of fatalities among non high risk individuals ?

    Surely only the high risk with underlying conditions should be isolated, most probably those individuals receiving ACE/ARB treatment as explained here…..

    https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanres/article/PIIS2213-2600(20)30116-8/fulltext

    Polly

  36. JoolsB
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    You are clearly a dedicated hardworking MP John (although I am strongly opposed to the honours system being used on politicians) and your constituents are lucky to have you. How you find the time to do this daily post as well as serve your constituents and read every reply is a testament to you. What a pity your talents have not been utilised by any of our mediocre wishy washy Liberal PMs of recent years.

    Hopefully when this crisis is all over, you will dedicate some of your energy to what it says on the tin and start speaking up for England against the rotten deal it receives both constitutionally and financially from this Tory Government, especially our young, sick and elderly. Please tell Boris England is watching and waiting.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      For our sake not his, we need John Redwood in Downing Street.

      • turboterrier
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

        Lynn Atkinson

        Second that. Either number will do 10 or 11.
        As a regular visitor as a cabinet member wouldn’t be a bad starter for 10

      • glen cullen
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

        concur

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

        What, yet ANOTHER unelected PM for the country?

        • Fred H
          Posted March 30, 2020 at 8:01 am | Permalink

          are you putting yourself forward?

        • Edward2
          Posted March 30, 2020 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

          Please give us the names of any elected PM
          It their party that elects them to be head of their party.
          If that party wins a general election then whoever is made head of the party becomes PM
          Surely you know this?

    • Mark B
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

      Hear hear.

  37. Richard1
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Good to see Corbyn’s ridiculous assertion that the emergency economic measures put in place to attempt to counter the shut-down forced by the virus vindicate his previous calls for state socialism, being ridiculed and panned from all sides, including by Labour MPs. It is important to nail this silly rubbish before Mr Corbyn retreats into the well-deserved obscurity from which he came.

  38. Edwardm
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    A good letter. After the immediate issues of adjusting to lockdown, indeed the big question is how we get back to some normality and how we can get to the position when we can safely do that as soon as reasonably possible. It may be regular mass testing is needed as one of a number of measures (but I am no expert).

  39. Iain Gill
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    I don’t think you understand the world from my perspective John.
    I understand the virus is not anyone’s fault, I am prepared to forgive the corporate lack of preparedness for something like this from the public sector who have been paid handsomely to do just that.
    I am prepared to accept that the political class and senior layers of the public sector are sub standard in many ways, and indeed self-select for exactly the attributes we don’t need in their roles. I am prepared to understand the dire quality of the top of the consultancies the public sector have dragged in to help.
    But I am not prepared to accept the active economic warfare by the Chancellor and the ruling classes against me, my family and my friends. The massive wealth redistribution which is going on helping the long term feckless, the already outrageously wealthy, the large consultancies, and destroying those of us who have always “done the right thing” looked after our families, paid our taxes, rescued numerous projects from the disasters made of them by the very same political class and senior ruling classes that are making a mess of this. Some of us will soon be struggling to feed our children, and the commentators are writing as if that’s fine. Indeed, the chancellor thinks we need to pay even more tax in the future having already spent most of the last few years paying for work travel and hotels out of taxed money due to IR35 already being live for those public sector gigs we do, and hence being the most overtaxed section of the workforce.
    I am not impressed with the reckless approach of mega hospitals which will only spread this contagion even more and kill more people, when the US army has shown exactly how it should be done with commandeered hotels and individual rooms per patient and negative air pressure in each room.
    I am not prepared to accept the computer model being kept hidden, when the source code could easily have been made public domain by now.
    Your peers in the ruling class are actively trying to starve my children, destroy what little wealth I have managed to achieve in a lifetime of work, this is not going to be ordinary everyday politics soon, I am going to be mad and so are lots and lots of people like me.
    I strongly recommend you start using stronger words and tell the chancellor in no uncertain words that their lack of empathy for people like me is not going down well.
    If you are going to return us to the rules of the jungle, don’t be surprised when it turns out we are bigger monkeys than you think we are. And don’t expect it to be pretty.
    This is really not on. I would use stronger words but you wouldn’t let it through moderation.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      Hear, hear.
      And WHY is the illegal immigrant dinghy service STILL operating ?

    • Caterpillar
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

      Iain Gill,

      I think that the Communist Party of China can take much blame in its local and national cover ups, and denial of human to human transmission. I the lack of trust I have in the Chinese central powers is quickly being matched by my lack of trust in the UK’s.

      It is the UK Govt that has in a few weeks torn up everything. It has broken the price mechanism for effective resource allocation, it has created a battle of need for Govt patronage, it does not care about those who have “done the right thing” (though this is not new, an ex-Chancellor used to say this in opposition but not in Govt, it has been coming), it seems to have chosen actions based on visibility (visible action, visible power) … but we cannot gather in more than groups of two, no secretive whispers can pass when separated by 2 metres and even an individual in the wrong place (almost anywhere) is not permitted.

      However much you or I do not accept the choices of the UK’s central power and its use of fear, we have already reached the point where resistance is futile. The UK is no longer free, liberal or remotely democratic. There is no such thing as the individual there is only society. Whether I look at Orwell’s warnings from the ‘left’ or Rand’s from the ‘right’ – both seem to be coming true.

      • The Prangwizard
        Posted March 30, 2020 at 7:59 am | Permalink

        ‘……….there is only society’.

        As we learn today, Boris has today expressed his belief in that concept. Taking a trumphalist swipe at Margaret Thatcher in the process.

        Vote Tory today, get Socialism.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

      As I said to someone a week or so ago. The GE is over. Now they can do what they want.

      • Fred H
        Posted March 30, 2020 at 7:58 am | Permalink

        or very little of what we want?

  40. bigneil(newercomp)
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Only “essential” travel? Why? I know someone interested in astronomy – so why is it wrong for them to drive into the nearby hills – on their own – not meeting anyone – and set up the telescope for a few hours?

    • Iain Gill
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      Hospitals are already going to be at maximum capacity.

      There is no room for even the usual road traffic accident victims.

      Hence reduce car travel to food and medicine makes sense.

      • glen cullen
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

        Hospital at maximum capacity ???

        Please supply numbers as I’ve tried to find them for days

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      Your house is an isolated cocoon and so is your car….don’t see the problem

  41. Derek Henry
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    It’s a good thing we eliminated polio in the 1950s because there’s no way in hell we could eliminate it under the 21st century health economics conventional wisdom.

    After the fiscal conservatives ( gold standard, fixed exchange rate – let’s pretend we are in the Euro brigade ) got their hands on it.

    Sunak has proved beyond doubt MMT economist were bang on the money regarding how our monetary system operates in reality.

    Good luck trying to impose the gold standard, fixed exchange rate self imposed constraints back into the system after this. Millions have seen the light.

    It also exposed the truth. We would have been fine with a no deal brexit because we can do what it takes. We all need government money before they need ours.

    It also shows what was written in the side of the red bus was true regarding the NHS. It always was true.

    Make sure you explain to all the fools who read the Guardian this simple fact.

    The number on the side of the bus could of been bigger if there are enough skills and resources to absorb it.

    It also exposed the lies of the Brexit debate in full.

    We created all these blips on a balance sheet without being a member of the EU or EFTA

    How are EU countries getting on finding the blips when Germany and Holland can simply say NO.

    If voters in the EU wake up the project is over and long overdue if you ask me.

    Government’s policy response to virus is dangerous/risky, because it reveals to the public that a decade of cuts to public services/benefits was unnecessary & justified with faulty economic reasoning…

    Which I shared with you all for months.

    Next time you hear of the government “borrowing” from the private sector, recall that the private sector needed the vital support of the Bank of England, which is owned and indemnified by the Treasury.

    Treasury is backstop on entire monetary system. It does not go cap in hand.

    Take care and please stay safe.

    • Andy
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

      Stop whining about the EU. You left.

      The EU will be fine.

      And what the current situation shows is that advocates of a no deal
      Brexit are such snowflakes that they panic buy toilet roll.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

        Oh a new generalized negative claim about leave voters from you.
        Well done.
        Add it to the long ridiculous list.

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

        Well that’s not how it’s looking from here. All borders locked (because borders are actually quite a good idea) and Greece left to wither under a refugee crisis.

        What planet are you on ? NOTHING is fine !

        Least of all the EU.

      • agricola
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

        A collection of wild statements based on nothing factual. Could it be that the Brexiteers have bought all the toilet paper to float a new parallel currency called the sheet. A pint of milk for three sheets. Unbelievable.

      • Pud
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

        You can of course provide the source of your information that people who panic buy are in favour of a no deal Brexit.

      • SM
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

        Do you know, I was wondering why so many S Africans were panic-buying toilet rolls in Jo’burg and Cape Town, and now I know….they are all No Deal Brexit advocates!

        Thanks for the much-needed laugh, Andy!

  42. Know-Dice
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    ” I would like to say a big thank you to all of you who are going to work to maintain our essential services, ensure there is food for our tables, and to care for others. “</blockquote"

    Agreed and a big thank you from me…

    And it's not just NHS workers, it's shop assistants, rubbish collectors, care home staff etc…all of whom are putting themselves at risk and in most cases without suitable protective gear…

  43. John McDonald
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Dear Sir John, Do keep well and don’t take chances meeting others. Unfortunately very difficult in the Political arena. Our PM has shown this point too clearly. I wish him well soon as think for all his faults (like most of us) he is the best person to lead at this time.

    However all correct and proper to support the economy , but History will show that the focus on the economic fallout and civil liberties of a democracy delayed action and made the long term damage to the economy grater than a short sharp shock.
    We ignored what was happening in China, and too this very day are continuing to let people into the country form anyway and I am not just talking about airports.
    What would have happened if the EU/UK had said if your are coming from China (by this I do not mean Chinese) in December even early January, then you can’t enter unless under very strict and closely supervised passage to quarantine.
    But we just did/do not have the resources. The Government (not just this one) has run down the essential services and overloaded the NHS. The front line staff now have to suffer/take personal risk to dig us out of the mess. One might say a real false economy indeed.

    • dominic
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      The NHS is always overloaded. It’s been their mantra since they became a vested interest. It’s the only method they know to expand their budgets.

      The NHS must be exposed to criticism not uncritical sycophancy. We know what happens when this organisation is allowed to function without oversight.

      When will people learn and understand what happened in 1997? Blair turned the entire public sector into a political and party vested interest when before its function was the opposite

      And now we have an entire public sector whose primary function is the promotion of itself and its political leverage and political influence

      The NHS is now a political religion that no political party dare touch. That is very dangerous as it transfers a certain degree of political power from elected politicians to unelected bureaucrats

      It is my belief that what we are seeing is the destruction of private sector employment by a PM pandering the influence of NHS chiefs and academic ‘experts’

      Well, it’s the private sector that pays the bills of the NHS not the other way around. So who exactly will pay the bills of this PM’s political decision to destroy employment in the private sector on the altar of more virtue signalling politics?

      It almost feels we have become slaves to the Blair’s political construct he built in 1997 and has been built upon by every cowardly Tory PM since

      • glen cullen
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

        It’s the Pareto Effect 80:20 rule

        80% of the NHS is effective/efficient while 20% is always in flux and appears dysfunctional

        MSM only report on the later 20%

      • John McDonald
        Posted March 29, 2020 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

        Dominic, hope you state your views to the Doctor or Nurse you meet if you are unfortunate enough to have to go to Hospital .
        I would agree that their are too many managers in the NHS rather than more medical staff. The powers that be increase management to try and make use of fewer front line staff. But this is seen every where not just the NHS. The real issue is should we pay more. It’s no good being “Free” if you have to wait weeks to been seen by a GP ( prior to current situation). Lived and worked in Holland for a while. Everyone has to pay for the Health service if you earn over a certain amount. But outwardly it appears to be the same as here you don’t pay upfront to see the Doctor. Free at the point of delivery just like the NHS.

  44. Time Lord Community
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    China’s inevitable counter attack upon Hindu India has begun.
    It will be a measured attack as much as this kind of warfare can be, no doubt.

  45. Time Lord Community
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    There will be much foreign investment in India. Some in India will say foreigners own India in the near future.

  46. Trumpeteer
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Trump, once only, in regard to the Virus said a few weeks ago televised by the media but not picked up for further debate, “We know who did it.”

    • hefner
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      On 22/01/2020 in Davos he also said “We have it totally under control”.

  47. Steve Reay
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    Many economists on the internet are talking about having a debt julbilee , or as we know it wiping the slate clean.
    Their point being we’ve just been threw years of austerity and will have to restart the same measures as before.
    We ask too much of the next generations to sacrifice, so a debt reset agreed globally would work. Extraordinary measures for extraordinary times.

    • a-tracy
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

      Why would people getting 80% of their normal wages paid by future taxpayers get their bad debts written off too? Whose bright idea is this to reward spendthrifts, just do try it and see what sensible savers think, do we all get the same amount in compensation for being disciplined and sensible all of our lives or are only the feckless getting a boost, r I d I c u l o u s.

  48. Lynn Atkinson
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Sir John the Government has changed its stand regarding the payment of rents to Landlords of residential property. So now it is only Commercial tenants, all in receipt of Grants, whole they support in refusing to pay due rents.
    This inconsistency is unacceptable. Commercial tenants must pay their rents from the Grant money they have received which is why Landlords have received no support directly from Government. A letter from the PM to this effect would be welcome!

  49. glen cullen
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Those returning from known hot spots where put in isolation for 2 weeks then clear to continue their normal life

    We’ve been in lockdown over 3 weeks with reports that it may continue for months

    So what is the incubation time of this virus?

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

      Come on Glen.

      Do you have to be spoon fed everything?

      Search is easy enough.

      • glen cullen
        Posted March 30, 2020 at 9:55 am | Permalink

        Thats of great help….wish I thought of it first

      • glen cullen
        Posted March 30, 2020 at 9:58 am | Permalink

        Thanks for being so constructive, maybe we don’t need this forum at all….lets just do our own research and end productive debate

    • Mark B
      Posted March 30, 2020 at 4:28 am | Permalink

      The State has us where it wants us – In perpetual state of fear !

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 30, 2020 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

        Speak for your timid self.

  50. glen cullen
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    And in other news
    Brent Crude Oil has been consistently below $26.00 per barrel with a percentage drop of 65% year to date

    But pump prices for fuel have only dropped 3-4p

    The government raking in VAT revenue and fuel supplier profit at our expense

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

      BASE INTEREST RATES ARE 0.1% and HSBC PERSONAL BANK OVERDRAFTS ARE 39.9% for everyone similar at many other banks too!

      They are a sick joke!

    • Ian Pennell
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

      @ glen cullen

      The Government will need every bit of extra revenue that they can get because of the ££ 100 billions borrowed to stop the Economy tanking. It’ll have to be paid back once this crisis is over. Some taxes will likely have to rise!

      • glen cullen
        Posted March 30, 2020 at 10:00 am | Permalink

        and yet foreign aid and HS2 funding will continue, as does our contriutions to the EU

  51. mancunius
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    The Deputy Chief Medical Officer has announced today that the current measures (social distancing) may continue “for the next three to six months…and it is plausible that it could go further than that”.
    This looks irredeemably grim.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 30, 2020 at 4:27 am | Permalink

      He seems to be enjoying his sudden +5 minutes of fame 😉

      • hefner
        Posted March 30, 2020 at 7:54 am | Permalink

        You were not paying attention, Mark B. To the dunce’s corner. She is Dr Jenny Harries.

    • The Prangwizard
      Posted March 30, 2020 at 7:47 am | Permalink

      Bureaucrats believe the solution to everything is control.

      If we wish to protect what remains of our freedoms we must protest and obstruct their demands. Once they get control, as with political Left in particular they do not give it up without a fight.

      They will inevitably claim that to protect us against any new disease controls must stay in place.

  52. turboterrier
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    Wouldn’t be a nice gesture from Sports Relief to donate the £40m they raised to be donated to the NHS to provide ventilators and a protective equipment?

    • Mark B
      Posted March 30, 2020 at 4:25 am | Permalink

      It would be better for the NHS to get rid of all their non-essential non-jobs and save us all even more money.

  53. DOMINIC
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    ‘It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong’.

    Thomas Sowell

    A more pertinent quotation you will not find to describe the stupidity of Johnson’s policy to politicise and centralise the UK with the backing of course of Labour’s Marxist client state

    Well done Tories, your legacy will be a bankrupt economy and a Marxist State for what?

    • Mark B
      Posted March 30, 2020 at 4:24 am | Permalink

      When one looks back over recent times, the Tories have done more damage to the UK economy (EU contributions etc, ERM, higher borrowing and so on) than Labour. The 2008 global depression was not the sole work of Labour although they did fail to fix the roof when the sun was shining. A sin that the Tories have repeated.

      Their biggest ever failure over the last ten years they have been in power, is to tackle Labour’s Client State. The Tories have been both woeful and cowardly in this regard.

  54. Caterpillar
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    Dear Government,
    Though at a personal level it must be challenging to be responsible for the decisions made, you might to some appear as a Govt wishing to be seen to do everything possible dominated by a single objective. In order to show your rationality and to maximise trust here are a few short questions.
    1. When will PHE be able to conduct antibody measurement (at a sample level) to determine background prevalence of the virus? Will this be done by strain?
    2. What are percentages of S and L virus strains in the UK mild, critical and death cases?
    3. Please give us quantified daily updates on the robustness of UK food supply not platitudes. In some scenarios dropping an economy by 25% breaks food supply chains.
    4. Please better contextualise the Covid19 deaths by also presenting weekly accumulated deaths by week number for 2018, 2019 and 2020 next to each other. (In the perpetual background of fear people can easily forget the base numbers.)
    5. Please stop fudging about the indicators for unwinding the lockdown in terms of decrease in gradient of curve. Which curve, and can you really tell inflection, and why? Also why is the curve the only signal, where is the balance against everything else?
    6. Please don’t be afraid to openly share quantitative forecasts, indicate what your best, expected, and worst ‘guesses’ are under current restrictions – is a peak at mid-April and final total deaths with Covid19 of about 20,000 closer to best, expected or worst?
    7. Please indicate what restrictions will be unwound first and how businesses and individuals can prepare.
    8. Please explain how your decisions have accounted for the long term impact of the economy on future welfare, childhood mortality and life expectancy.
    9. Please explain how short term risks e.g. the risk of malnutrition for children, the increased risk of micronutrient malnutrition for elderly, the risk of decreased interaction to those with early signs of dementia etc., have fed into the lockdown decision.
    10. Please explain how your decisions have assessed the long term impact on economic growth, supply side shocks have an effect for decades.
    11. Please explain why the whole country was locked down at the same time, when different regions are supposedly at different points on the curve?
    12. Please clarify whether personal saving will ever be part of the future of the UK. For a decade you have run ZIRP and encouraged personal debt, and now you are stepping in with massive bailouts. Is saving finally over? Will there be an employer of last resort model, will there be a UBI / national dividend model?
    13. Please clarify how much blame falls on the Communist Party of China and how this will modify future relationships.
    And …
    14. Please open council recycling centres/tips (in a socially distanced manner).
    15. Pot holes, roadside rubbish etc where are the opportunities whilst under lockdown?

  55. Original Chris
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    A very useful article by Dr John Lee on CV and how statistics are arrived at and misused and misinterpreted. I feel he does rather expose the original Imperial College figures to the sort of rigorous scrutiny that they should have had before their predictions were accepted by Boris Johnson and used by BJ to effect his draconian policy. The excessive fear mongering by the media and some politicians has been very regrettable indeed and has caused huge anxiety amongst some of the most vulnerable in our population.

    https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/how-to-understand-and-report-figures-for-covid-19-deaths-
    Dr John Lee: How to understand – and report – figures for ‘Covid deaths’

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 30, 2020 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      an interesting and enlightening article…appears well balanced

  56. turboterrier
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    Sir John
    No smoke with out fire but wionews.com has 8 minutes news broadcast being available on Facebook highlighting the Chinese turn around since the end of their outbreak of Coronavius.. QUite a hard hitting presentation not holding back on the principles of Happenstance and Coincidence. Is anybody looking into this because if partially an element of similarity between what has gone on and a book written by two high ranking generals. All of which are mentioned in the broadcast. I don’t think this is just going to disappear.

  57. I see nothing
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

    Andy , you say the EU will be fine? Well they don’t look so well of late

    • Fred H
      Posted March 30, 2020 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      rather a lot are in a fever, certainly have massive headaches, very noticably coughing behind their hands, need an awful lot to drink, and when come out of it will say ‘I’m just fine now’.

  58. Quiet deaths
    Posted March 30, 2020 at 12:27 am | Permalink

    Ambulances, fire engines, police cars are seen sirens doing what they do past a friend’s home all day long. Well they they were
    Rare to see an ambulance now. The sick must be taking a different route.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 30, 2020 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

      Rare to hear a siren, yes.

      They are not needed. The roads are empty.

  59. kzb
    Posted March 30, 2020 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    The UK economy largely consists of ramming more and more people into London, thereby maintaining a puffed-up, ponzi scheme. This model is now finished. People are not going to commute stuffed into public transport like sardines. People are not going to accept free movement of thousands of international travellers, not without testing on entry and quarantine. Remodelling the economy away from the London property ponzi model is now more essential than ever.

  • 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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