Test and track

I am writing today to Matt Hancock, Health Secretary, to clarify how the Test and track system will work. It is in all our interests that it is used to keep us safe whilst allowing many more people to work and go about their daily lives more normally.

The idea of the system is people self isolate and get themselves tested if they develop new Covid 19 like symptoms. We are told that the testing may take 48 hours during which time no contact outside the household has to self isolate. If the test confirms the presence of the virus then “recent close contacts” of the infected person should also self isolate and will be contacted by the system.

The government document does seek to define recent close contact. It says it includes spending more than 15 minutes within 2 metres of the infected person,  and face to face contact of under 1 metre. The document tells us this could result from travelling even a short distance with someone in a car, or on a plane. It could also include people in  the same school or workplace.

So I would like to have more guidance on

  1. Travelling in a train or tube carriage with someone who is infected. How could contacts be discovered, and can this represent a threat to a traveller? What is government advice on train travel? If someone travels by train and another passenger notifies as having the virus do the other passengers have to self isolate?
  2. How many people in a workplace or school would need to self isolate if one of their number is discovered with the disease? Would there be an assessment of who had come closer than 1 metre? Presumably it will not require all people at that location to self isolate?
  3. Can we assume that after someone has self isolated for 7 days who has the virus, and for 14 days who might get it, they are no longer able to infect anyone else?
  4. Why has the government decided to use the WHO guideline of 1 metre separation rather than the U.K. 2 metre? Have government advisers reconsidered the 2 m requirement given WHO advice of 1 metre and Germany’s use of 1.5 metres?

The more knowledge of the transmission of the virus that can be shared with the public the more effective social distancing will be and the more co-operation there will be with the policy of Test and Trace.

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  1. Peter
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 5:29 am | Permalink

    They are fair questions – particularly the one about tracing fellow train passengers.

    I do have a sense that the government is making it up as they go along. Maybe the advice is adapted to suit the public mood? People are getting fed up with lockdown so they ease up on lockdown and justify it with observations that give more leeway.

    The trouble is I don’t know if any rock solid advice actually exists.

    • Mark B
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 5:46 am | Permalink

      Future Sociologists and Psychologist are going to have a field day over this.

      The MASS Scare that never was.

      • Hope
        Posted May 29, 2020 at 7:20 am | Permalink

        Mark, quite correct. Targeted shielding only required. JR dropped the track element from the strap line says it all. Prof. Prings on TV as I write saying public will do as it likes and is now gradually not listening anymore. He also makes the point about children and schools, 1: 51/2 million likely to catch Chinese virus without serious effects and teachers likely to catch from other sources as much as children!

        Get them back to school they should not have closed. Most parents to infant and junior school children are under 45 and therefore minimal risk at best. Make trains automotive get rid of drivers. Govt throughout cite countries to bolster its actions when it suites but discounts when it does not. It was clear govt changed strategy and flipped flopped, dithered and delayed in March.

        • Hope
          Posted May 29, 2020 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

          JR, you could have started with:

          How did you, Johnson, Witty and Sedwill get infected?

          Did you all trace your contacts?

          How many of Johnson’s close protection team had to replaced time and again because of his careless attitude including going to his second home at Chequers?

          As you resoundingly failed what is it you exactly expect from the nation when you acted like dim wits?

      • bigneil(newercomp)
        Posted May 29, 2020 at 9:48 am | Permalink

        In the space or 2-3 weeks the govt managed to convince the vast majority of the population that every other person would kill them if they got within 2m of them. The govt must be extremely proud of their control and their deliberate destruction of a whole country in the short term and a whole nation in the long term. Glad i’m old and near the end.

        • Zorro
          Posted May 30, 2020 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

          A woman nearly got run over the other day as she jumped into the road 20 metres away to avoid me. Another woman fell in some nettles last week doing the same thing. Completely insane! How to mind control a nation in three easy lessons!


      • Loose Change
        Posted May 29, 2020 at 11:35 am | Permalink

        “Future Sociologists and Psychologist are going to have a field day over this.”
        One now may be having a field day. Easy. Like a walk in he park

      • margaret howard
        Posted May 30, 2020 at 11:31 am | Permalink

        Mark B

        “Future Sociologists and Psychologist are going to have a field day over this.

        The MASS Scare that never was.”

        Mark B – our very own Don Quixote tilting at windmills against the rest of the world.

    • Nigl
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 6:04 am | Permalink

      Yes a typical government black and white response that can never cover all eventualities especially because as you say, there are many grey areas. Hence all the questioning and scepticism. Their numbers have been wildly over estimated and it seems they are again.

      Potentially I could end up in house arrest, because that is what they are proposing, in perpetuity, be close to a carrier, the sentence is 14 days, come out be close to another one especially on public transport and be sentenced again and never have it. It is blatant nonsense.

      And finally I see the Stasi PHE have banned all private labs from allowing me to buy a test. More Big Brother.

      Once again Sir JR surely what is needed is a ‘quick’ test that we can do on ourselves on an ongoing basis.

      Get the State off our backs.

      • Hope
        Posted May 29, 2020 at 7:27 am | Permalink

        Govt released 700+ from immigration deportation centers, it released 4,000 from prisons against the advice it gave to wider public. It allowed 18 million into the country. If its strategy was to slow the spread its actions defeated its strategy! Allowing people to enter our island country caused the disease to spread in the first place. 130 countries placed border controls and checks, U.K. Was one of a small number that did not. All the major economies had border controls and checks. Answer from our govt science fiction and utter boll..ks. It pandered to China and WHO.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted May 29, 2020 at 8:12 am | Permalink

        So why are most other countries – except for the US and Brazil – not in this complete shambles of a mess too?

        Even Senegal and Ghana have kept their fatalities down to a few dozen.

        (And before you explain that away by the weather, Edward2, Brazil is tropical too.)

        • Edward2
          Posted May 29, 2020 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

          Thanks martin.
          I wasn’t thinking that was the reason.

          Interested in Sweden and Belarus final figures.
          Measured is per million population of course.

      • bigneil(newercomp)
        Posted May 29, 2020 at 9:38 am | Permalink

        A private lab might reveal the truth – whereas a controlled lab result can be turned into whatever the govt wants it to be. Govts do NOT like the public knowing the truth. Look how many times we have been lied to about immigration figures – and STILL they lie, after decades of doing it.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted May 29, 2020 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

        yes we need mass repeated & regular tests, and we need work to improve the accuracy of the tests.

    • jerry
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 7:17 am | Permalink

      @Peter; “I do have a sense that the government is making it up as they go along. “

      That was more than obvious during yesterdays No.10 briefing, it is now very clear that the tail is now wagging the dog.

      I suspect the guidance, as well as the rest of this awful technocrat designed scheme, has been introduced without sufficient thought, in an attempt to make the govts wish for the resumption of parliament and schools possible from the beginning of June.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      “How” it will work is premised on the assumption that it will work.

      If the débâcles over the supposed supply of PPE to front line clinical staff, and other out-sourcing, doctrinaire disasters are anything by which to judge, then I do not think that it will.

      These have involved several complex, arcane contractual layers, which ensure that when the inevitable failures occur, the highly-paid management can escape any sanctions, because assigning responsibility with any certainty is impossible.

      That is not an accidental ball-fumbling, but, I think, absolutely paramount by design, to ensure that these people, who generally went to certain schools, have pleasant, stress-free lives, whilst they wallow in the taxpayer’s cash, and while those who do the real work for them are on ZHCs.

      Welcome to Tory Britain.

      • Edward2
        Posted May 29, 2020 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

        You blame Boris.
        I blame Public Heslth England and the procurement arm of the NHS.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted May 29, 2020 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

          Yep, socialist Prof Ferguson, socialist PHE, socialist NHS

        • jerry
          Posted May 30, 2020 at 5:24 am | Permalink

          @Edward2; But PHE work to rules set by the DHSC, who in turn work to policies set by Downing Street, in short the buck stops with Boris – like it or not.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 30, 2020 at 8:33 am | Permalink

            Downing Street sets the rules

            They are given huge sums of money.
            Preparing for epidemics was one of their responsibilities.
            Procuring PPE equipment and stocking it was one of their responsibilities.
            Are you claiming Boris or the Dept for Health made a rule that they should not do these things?

          • jerry
            Posted May 30, 2020 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; “Preparing for epidemics was one of their [PHS/DHSC] responsibilities.”

            Yes, within the spending limits set by HMT, and they set those according to polices made within Downing Street – the buck stops with Boris (the PM) how ever much you wish to waste our hosts time arguing (or perhaps you think the leader of the opposition runs the government), the clue is in the name….!

          • Edward2
            Posted May 31, 2020 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

            They chose their priorities.
            Number 10 doesn’t micro manage.

            In fact the government had pandemics as number one on their risk assessment list.
            Unlikely therefore they were stopping by their general policies any preparations made by either public body.

          • jerry
            Posted May 31, 2020 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; You can try to twist this anyway you like but … if a govt department is making wrong choices, being poorly managed, then the PM has appointed the wrong person to be the SofS, in such a situation it is also for the PM to appoint a different SofS -thus the buck stops with the PM. QED!

          • Edward2
            Posted May 31, 2020 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

            Thanks Jerry for your invitation.
            Very kind of you.
            You must have worked in very different organisations to me.
            Delegated management usually take responsibility for their actions.
            The board set the objectives and priorities.
            Managers put forward their budgetary requirements and then go off and do what is expected.
            PHE and the NHS have substantial autonomy but failed to prepare for what the Government stated was their number one priority in the risk assessment studies agreed by them all.
            Yet you think boris is to blame.
            Well OK, I think you are wrong but please have the last word.
            If it makes you happy.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted May 30, 2020 at 6:14 am | Permalink

          The Tories have been in power for TEN YEARS.

          The UK has all the associations that they have established and maintained.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted May 30, 2020 at 10:40 am | Permalink

            I do not mainly blame Johnson.

            I blame the useless, tin-pot, Anglo-American socio-economic model, that the Tories have slavishly followed for forty years, pushed by the Tufton Street shower who are apparently the ones actually running this place – I won’t call it a country any more.

            No one dumped in the PM’s position and constrained to continue that model could have presided over much less of a catastrophe than the one that we are living.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 30, 2020 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

            And you would replace it with a socialist centralized command economy.
            Which fails every time.
            And don’t say Sweden.

            PS that model you describe has driven forward the biggest improvements in life expectancy and standards of living in the last 50 years the world has ever seen.

          • jerry
            Posted May 30, 2020 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

            @MiC; Yes, and New Labour were in power for 13 years before that, during which all they did was load the NHS up with excess PFI debt (being far more expensive than had the govt or the BoE borrowed-to-spend direct) [1], and why, because they were to obsessed with the useless, EU’s, tin-pot, socio-economic model – ho-hum, two can throw mud!

            [1] doing so to keep it off-book

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted May 31, 2020 at 9:59 am | Permalink

            No, I’d replace it with something like the German or the Danish model, Edward2.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 31, 2020 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

            Germany is part private part insurance health system.
            Sure you are OK with that?
            And unlike PHE they got millions of tests done by using the private sector laboratories.
            Which PHE refused to do.

          • jerry
            Posted May 31, 2020 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; “Which PHE refused to do.

            I think you’ll find it was DHSC/Downing street that both stopped general mass testing and limited were any such tests could be processes, not PHE.

            But again, even if I’m wrong, DHSC/Downing Street sets polices, why did neither over rule PHE, tell them to do as you suggest they should have done?

            There is a clear chain of command; PM > Downing Street > DHSC > PHE > NHS Trusts > NHS front line, any of the previous can instruct/overrule any of the latter.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 31, 2020 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

            You are wrong Jerry.
            PHE only used public sector laboratories.
            Unlike in Germany where their health service utilised the private sector capacity and was able to roll out millions of tests.

    Posted May 29, 2020 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    Sinister and deeply unnerving

    • Adam
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 6:06 am | Permalink

      You envision ghosts, Dominic.

      If a tiger were on the loose, would you prefer not to know where it feeds before it bites you?

      • Lexi Dick
        Posted May 29, 2020 at 11:27 am | Permalink

        For anyone healthy, normal weight and under 70, this virus is not so much a tiger as a yappy dog.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted May 29, 2020 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

          Not by any means “anyone”, but just “most people”.

          Ask Linda Lusardi, for instance.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 30, 2020 at 8:35 am | Permalink

            Over 60.
            Heightened risk age group.

        • Fred H
          Posted May 29, 2020 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

          yappy dogs should be fitted with a muzzle……BBC, print media spring to mind. A lot of them seem barking (mad).

    • Caterpillar
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 8:17 am | Permalink


      Always clear and to the point –

      A Govt that has intentionally created economic distress,
      A Govt that has grabbed authoritarian powers and curtailed liberty
      A Govt that wishes to track the people
      A Govt that wishes to put its people under house arrest on the excuse of being ‘near to’.

      This is indeed much more than sinister, but for me the unnerving is that so few people recognise it and so few MPs stand against it.

      • Mark B
        Posted May 30, 2020 at 5:06 am | Permalink

        I agree. People are so fearful that they will do anything the government tells them to including, clapping outside their homes.

    • Fred H
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      and can the system be used if you stand for 15 mins watching an anti-Government protest? A serious question – NOT meant to be political.

  3. formula57
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 5:35 am | Permalink

    Concerning 4. on separation, reports now suggest aerosol transmission meaning the WHO 2 metre guidance is insufficient, especially often indoors.

    Quoting the journal Science, I see Fox News reports researchers Chia Wang, Kimberly Prather and Dr. Robert Schooley as recommending widespread testing and the wearing of masks in locations with conditions that can accumulate high concentrations of viruses, such as health care settings, airplanes, restaurants, and other crowded places with reduced ventilation.

  4. Mark B
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 5:43 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    Sorry I missed yesterdays clap-a-thon. Can someone please update me. I did not hear to excessively load pop music that usually accompanies it so I am guessing either the originality is wearing off or people have finally realised that in order to save “Our NHS” people in the Private Sector will have to sacrifice their jobs.

    Still, the sin is shinning 🙂

    Why are we still wasting our time with this ? Let the virus do its work much like past pandemics. Harsh but true.

    • Adam
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 6:23 am | Permalink

      Mark B:

      The clapping initiator suggested a sensible stop. Reluctant clappers say Govt should pay NHS staff and carers substantive bonuses instead. Adding to Govt expense wastes.

      Health workers should receive much higher values. We can all take care to prevent infection. That way, we not only reduce their workloads efficiently, we SAVE THEIR LIVES. And ours.

      • Sea Warrior
        Posted May 29, 2020 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

        Would I be right in thinking that medics are currently earning a lot of overtime?

      • NickC
        Posted May 29, 2020 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

        Adam, The NHS management is clapped out.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 7:53 am | Permalink

      If people in the private sector sacrifice their jobs then the NHS will have no money.
      The question for the NHS to answer is:- why do the NHS have about 6 times more deaths per (tested positive patient) than the German health care system? Why did have have so little ICU capacity relative to them. Why do we have only 15 ECMO machines when Germany has 755 (1400 in Japan)?

      Are Germany and Japan just wasting money on these or is it the UK that has it completely wrong?

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      I thought we had saved “Our NHS” so the ones that Border force ferry in can see taxpayer funded medical staff as soon as they arrive here.

      • UK Qanon
        Posted May 29, 2020 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

        No way is this a Pandemic it is a Plandemic and many,many people have fallen for the narrative. It is called CONTROL.
        However as stated by ‘Q’ :
        “Quarantine’ is when you restrict the movement of sick people.
        ‘Tyranny’ is when you restrict the movement of healthy people.

  5. oldtimer
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 5:48 am | Permalink

    Yesterday Professor Ballance qualified the 2 metre rule by making distinctions between face to face, back to back and side by side distancing. The 1 and 2 metre rules are rules of thumb. The government appears to have simplified the message for ease of understanding. Perhaps the reactions to Mr Cummings proper use of explicit exemptions (set out in black and white in the leaflet sent to me) indicate that anything more complicated is beyond the comprehension of much of the general public, not to mention political editors.

    • oldtimer
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 5:49 am | Permalink

      Vallance not Ballance!

    • Stred
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 6:16 am | Permalink

      A sneeze can travel 8m, which is why they insist on face masks in public transport everywhere else.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 29, 2020 at 7:31 am | Permalink

        Indeed it can (and rather more where there is a wind such as on the tube system).

      • a-tracy
        Posted May 29, 2020 at 7:46 am | Permalink

        So Stred, if people wear a facemask and visor but sit near someone who hasn’t bothered on the tube that is subsequently tested with covid19, do they have to self-isolate for 14 days losing their income and potentially their livelihood with no redress to the furlough that many have been enjoying?

        • Stred
          Posted May 30, 2020 at 3:52 am | Permalink

          That’s why it has to be compulsory on the train. Two metres distance in a long corridor with air blowing along it will not work. It’s nonsense.

      • glen cullen
        Posted May 29, 2020 at 9:06 am | Permalink

        Can’t travel 8m in a hankerchief

        It might be ‘old-school’ but worked for decades

      • Worker
        Posted May 29, 2020 at 11:56 am | Permalink

        And I wish I were exaggerating or joking. What has become of our health system?
        I,personally, have known it has been a farce for years , whatever the government.

    • John E
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      The real number is 1 metre. The advisers completely arbitrarily doubled it to 2 metres because they thought the public don’t know what a metre is. All this was done with no consideration of the consequences for businesses, schools, transport etc.

    • Starting
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      There are many medical experts who should be made redundant after post lockdown parliamentary reviews,. Also a complete overhaul of medical school education and higher education teaching of science and scientific thinking, logic, history of medical theories of the last 50 years to be included in detail to give sound scientific basis.

  6. Bryan Harris
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    Any figure related to distancing is arbitrary – At least 1M allows for more normality.
    I’ve read of many people suspicious of track/trace, because they fear it will later be used for other purposes – What safeguards are being put in place to make this a temporary feature of life?
    The WHO should be the best authority on medical advice, but has already failed the world in how it handled CV – We should be going our own way and not relying on the WHO for anything.
    It seems that ‘everyone’ is expecting a CV rerun once the cold weather returns at the end of the year – Wouldn’t it be better to allow the virus to spread during the summer while people will be far less effected and recover more easily, by allowing normalisation of society?
    If we have another lockdown this winter that will be a disaster for our society and economy.
    We have already seen far too many in positions of authority exerting their will for irrational purposes – They will only become worse the more this thing goes on.
    We must prepare for a CV bounce by making use of best practice. Isolation is not the answer as the virus will not be defeated until it touches every one of us.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 7:27 am | Permalink

      It seems that ‘everyone’ is expecting a CV rerun once the cold weather returns at the end of the year

      There are still 8,000 cases per day according to the scientific adviser yesterday. It hasn’t gone away so we might as well get on with life while taking precautions.

      Face masks and hand washing after public transport seems to be the way to go and hand washing at all times.

    • a-tracy
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 7:48 am | Permalink

      Will the 20 young people who have gathered near a contact of mine’s home every evening for the entire two months even have this track and trace, no, it will be all the obedient rule followers who get holed up, whilst the real spreaders are out and about at will.

      Just how the heck are all these new cases getting infected as everyone has been such a goody-two-shoes if the newspapers are to be believed this last week, how are the new cases catching this, are we importing the infected?

      • Fred H
        Posted May 29, 2020 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

        if really close it will look like 1 person with 20 mobiles – police might come, arrest them for mobile stealing.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      Bryan Harris,

      I think you make fair points – randomness that springs to mind is (i) the Govt and advisers are clueless, (ii) they suspect infection does not afford immunity (iii) they know CV is pretty much over but wish to claim success (my elephant repellent works very well, (iv) they are gambling on a large scale rollout of an insufficiently tested vaccine, (vi) they now realise lockdown was wrong as risks are very small for majority (resources should have been directed atbthe vulnerable) but won’t admit it (v) if there is immunity then it would be better to have managed infections in the summer but the Govt is scared/unable to implement it (I have previously wondered on here the possibility of controlled intradermal infection with live virus to lower risk of pulmonary infection, plasma treatment available for the very small minority that need it).

      • Bryan Harris
        Posted May 29, 2020 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

        Caterpillar Yes….
        I fear very much that the government is following ‘best advice’ but nobody is really in charge of planning nor understanding the implications.

        Our host is clearly doing his best to raise awareness with government of workable practices noted in his diary, but it feels like there is a big communications gap between us and them.
        I do wish Boris would close down the BBC

    • Andy
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 8:19 am | Permalink

      The WHO is the best authority for medical advice. And countries which followed its
      advice from the start – test, track and trace – have all successfully suppressed the virus.

      The Johnson government ditched the WHO advice early on. Washing our hands was enough because we are British. We are exceptional. We know best. Large events like Cheltenham and the Champions League will go ahead because we are stoic and special.

      60,000+ dead later, a scandal in our care homes, the worst recession in 300 years later – how is that Tory Brexit exceptionalism working out for us all? The Conservative Covid Catastrophe brought to you be people who screwed up Brexit.

      • Bryan Harris
        Posted May 29, 2020 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

        The WHO has been found to be complicit with China in hiding facts about this virus, and that is the least of their crimes

        • hefner
          Posted May 30, 2020 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

          What are their other crimes?

      • Graham Wheatley
        Posted May 30, 2020 at 1:04 pm | Permalink


        In addition to your BBC salary, how much do you get every month from Brussels?

    • glen cullen
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      The idea of a covid-19 bounce or 2nd wave is a misnomer introduced by examining the Spanish flu of 1916-20

      That bounce wasn’t so much a bounce but the schedule of returning soldiers from WW1

      Its smoke and mirrors to introduce the idea of a bounce

      • Bryan Harris
        Posted May 29, 2020 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

        It would be nice if that was the case @Glen – Let’s hope so…. But so many people are suggesting otherwise I guess we should be prepared

        I’d be happier if we had total certainty on best practices to stop people dying.
        I also don’t want to see laws demanding people use masks all the time – which would be detrimental to healthy lungs – No laws, no forced vaccinations, no health passports

        • glen cullen
          Posted May 30, 2020 at 8:43 am | Permalink

          Sounds like you’re falling for the media and govt hype – deaths
          2014 – annual flu …44,000
          2020 – covid-19 …38,161

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted May 31, 2020 at 10:01 am | Permalink

            Without lockdown there would have been hundreds of thousands dead.

            There’s silly, and plain idiotic.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 31, 2020 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

            Yet some nations had no lockdown and have no such alarmist figures.
            Sweden for example 4400 ten times less than your predictions.

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 10:02 am | Permalink

      “track/trace, because they fear it will later be used for other purposes – What safeguards are being put in place to make this a temporary feature of life?”

      Safeguards are of NO use – they would just be ignored, then revoked for whatever trumped up reason. The aim is tracking – FULL STOP. Once started the govt would NEVER give it up – though they would NEVER admit it.

      • Bryan Harris
        Posted May 29, 2020 at 8:45 pm | Permalink


        I fear you are right – but through our host we have to get the idea across that these type of practices should not be accepted long term.

    • Graham Wheatley
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      Another Logic-Failure: If the Government is afraid (..concerned..) that a ‘2nd wave’ flare-up could occur, because the ‘R’ number is again close to 1 (….I note with no explanation as to why they think that), then why the hell has the London Nightingale Hospital been decommissioned?

      If there was a danger of that 2nd wave, then they’d keep it open, no?

      Occasional logic-failures I can accept because individuals will make mistakes. Multiple logic-failures are indicative of a ‘lie’ being justified.
      I’ve counted at least 8 spectacular logic-failures in this whole episode thus far.

      The 1925 published words of an infamous 1940s despot spring to mind:
      “The best way to take control over a people and control them utterly is to take a little of their freedom at a time, to erode rights by a thousand tiny and almost imperceptible reductions. In this way, the people will not see those rights and freedoms being removed until past the point at which these changes cannot be reversed”.

      • Bryan Harris
        Posted May 29, 2020 at 8:47 pm | Permalink


        Fair points – I’m still not happy with the way deaths are counted for CV

        • Graham Wheatley
          Posted May 30, 2020 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

          I also note that the Brussels Fraudcasting Corporation are now continually referring to “deaths WITH covid-19” rather than “deaths FROM covid-19”.

          There is a huge difference. Just like lots of people ‘having’ it (or having had it) but not ‘suffering’ from it or ‘showing any symptoms’. The last one is the kicker because it allows the state to guilt-trip people by telling them that (despite having isolated themselves for periods greatly in excess of 14 days {I have friends who are in immense fear of this and haven’t been outside their door for over a month} and showing no symptoms) they may (still) have the disease and ‘risk’ infecting half the country if they go outside the house for 5 minutes.

          I was amused by the Welsh stance on this the other day…. the minister was convinced that the longer distance you drive, the more chance of you infecting someone else (even if you don’t get out of the vehicle!). His powers of deduction rival those of the Member for Ashton-under-Lyne; perhaps they should get together? Etc ed

  7. Adam
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    The ability of an infected person to identify others will often be vague, yet any info they provide helps build a zone of attention. Knowing personally helps trace the other party direct. However, knowing the where and when alone creates pieces of a sharp location when combined with others.

    Disparate sources and fragments like: ‘Wokingham Waitrose on Thursday’, ‘Lloyd’s Bank Denmark Street’ and ‘All Saints Parish Church hall on 20 May’ all combine to enable rapid analysis for defining potential local Lockdown zones. Infectors and infected would find virtually nowhere to hide, even if they tried.

    • Peter
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      I am not sure about this. I don’t think many will seek to hide though.

      The problem is that if an infected person says ‘I was on the District Line between Wimbledon and Earls Court from 7:30am to 8:00am on Monday’ You have to trace other passengers who may not be religiously checking back on all their movements in case of the virus.

      You can routinely disinfect the train, but then you need to assess whether Wimbledon and/or Earls Court warrant a fresh lockdown. I suppose numbers reporting will help, though I am not sure infected individuals will see filling out a report as their number one priority. That would probably need health professionals to monitor.

    • glen cullen
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      When people present with symptoms or for a test we could take their NI number and address…..this info could be sent to PHE for mapping the hot spots

      • Fred H
        Posted May 29, 2020 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

        please don’t help the Government with the tools of 1984.

    • Graham Wheatley
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      ‘Nowhere to hide’.

      When applied to innocent law abiding citizens, those words are the words of a dictatorial, totalitarian, despotic regime.

      • Caterpillar
        Posted May 29, 2020 at 8:11 pm | Permalink


      • Adam
        Posted May 30, 2020 at 10:14 am | Permalink

        Thanks for pointing out, Graham. My description was loose. ‘Infectors’ was intended to apply to the virus hiding, not the people. The people infected would be trying to reveal, to oppose the virus.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

      How come so many other countries have managed so well then?

      • Graham Wheatley
        Posted May 30, 2020 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

        Martin in Cardiff,

        What like China?
        Have you plotted up the WHO data and looked at the graph?

        I defy you to come up with anything other than one of two conclusions:-
        1) The Chinese Communist Party are lying (in which case DJT is absolutely correct in defunding the WHO).
        2) They already possess and had deployed a vaccine (probably in the week to 10 days prior to 17th February).

        Q?: If (2) is correct, then why haven’t they made it available to the rest of the world?
        A: Because it would then reveal that they had been working on development of that vaccine months before the first outbreak occurred.

        Further Q? : How TF could they have begun work on something that they couldn’t possibly have known existed?

        • hefner
          Posted May 30, 2020 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

          Given that I very much doubt that these questions have grown on your own manure, could you please give us the references of the site/YouTube post from which you extracted those questions. Thanks in advance.

          • Graham Wheatley
            Posted June 1, 2020 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

            My questions borne from plotting up the official WHO data as published on their SITREPS page and using my own logic to evaluate it, rather than believing everything I am spoonfed via the media.

            Do likewise and see what conclusions you draw from it. To assist you in that, here is the link to those data.


          • hefner
            Posted June 3, 2020 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

            GrahamW, Thanks a lot. It really is appreciated.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted May 30, 2020 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

          No, like Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Greece, Norway, Ghana, Senegal, South Korea, Denmark, and even Italy, France and Spain are now doing, having caught up, if you’d rather.

          And there are plenty more. Even poor Venezuela has only a tiny fraction of the UK toll.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 30, 2020 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

            If you have over 160 nations and rank them by deaths per million population you will get a hierarchy.
            Some will be top.
            Some will be at the bottom.
            Some nations have not had one case.
            Some have had around hundred deaths.
            Some have had many thousands.

            You have no understanding of why that is.
            Just blaming the Tories is infantile.
            There is far more things affecting this than we yet can understand.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted May 31, 2020 at 10:04 am | Permalink

            The ratio between those at the top and those at the bottom is about 30,000% in deaths-per-million, though, Ed.

            That’s not down to weather.

            I don’t just blame the Tories or “just” anything, however.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 31, 2020 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

            I never mentioned weather.
            You have no real explanation why there are so many anomalies throughout the world.

            Just blaming Boris isnt very illuminating

  8. Stred
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    After three months of lockdown the general population should be free of the virus. The main source of infection will be health and care workers and possibly public transport and schools. The NHS should concentrate testing on these as frequently as possible and without workers having to drive long distances to test sites.

    As usual, the NHS management has decided that it has to have its own detection software rather than use ready made and freely available systems already development in Korea and by the major computing companies. Many people in the business of computing have pointed out that the NHS appliance will not work properly because it runs down the phone battery and depends on a centralised data store which also invades privacy. This seems to be typical of state monopolistic approach and is another IT mess up. How long is it going to take to allow us to use the Google system or perhaps the Korean because these work in trains and buses, crowded places, offices and shops?

    • Iain Gill
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      hardly likely with full flights arriving from virus hotspots around the world at heathrow, and immediately getting on the tube

      and with many small boats full of illegal immigrants landing on our beaches

    • Graham Wheatley
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 1:47 pm | Permalink


      Lockdown prevents the general population from acquiring the disease and building antibodies to it. Rather than ‘ensuring’ that after 3 months we should be free of CV19, it has guaranteed that once removal of lockdown reaches a certain stage – if there are infections remaining (and there clearly will be) – then it is INEVITABLE that there will be a ‘2nd wave’.

      …….. which then calls into question why the London Nightingale Hospital has now been decommissioned? The Government clearly do not believe that there WILL be a 2nd wave, otherwise why decommission it?

      As Prof Johan Giesecke has stated in ‘The Lancet’, all a lockdown does is push peak-infections into the future.

      From 1995 to 2005 Giesecke was the state epidemiologist for Sweden, and in 1999-2000 led a WHO group working on the revision of the International Health Regulations. From 2005-2014 he was Chief Scientist at the European Centre for Disease Prevention & Control. As of this year he is a member of the WHO Strategic &Technical Advisory Group for Infectious Hazards & also works as an advisor to the Swedish Public Health Agency during this ‘pandemic’.

  9. SM
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    The more rules that are imposed, the more ways will be found to either circumvent them or flout them; examples in everyday life abound.

    End of story.

    • a-tracy
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 7:52 am | Permalink

      Will you get fined if you don’t carry your phone with you on your daily exercise, if found without the app running because your phone won’t take it will you be told to go home and stay home for 14 days? If you allow your battery to run out will you be threatened with being sacked?

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted May 29, 2020 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

        If you don’t have a mobile phone?

        • Fred H
          Posted May 30, 2020 at 9:19 am | Permalink

          possibly get arrested?

  10. steve
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    Bryan Harris

    “Wouldn’t it be better to allow the virus to spread during the summer while people will be far less effected and recover more easily, by allowing normalisation of society?”

    In effect this strategy has already been tried. Remember that the ‘experts’ advised the Government not to close all borders. So even early on the idea seems to have been to allow the virus to get in.

    Madness, total madness. In my opinion if there is to be an inquiry when this is over it should be to expose what Government was told and by whom.

    • a-tracy
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      Throughout this steve thousands and thousands of people, every day have been coming into the UK from all over the World.
      In Korea, there is a shaming of any company and anybody publicly that has taken this virus to their contact group. We can’t even be told where the odd new case in London is coming from and who has been asked to self-isolate this won’t be a big track and trace group so why can’t we be told how it is circulating?

      If the government wants participation people to have to believe in this and that it won’t harm them and their earnings, when you’re back at work there’s no furlough there is just SSP and the self-employed have to provide their own SSP as small business owners do so there will be a lot of people not wanting to load this app.

    • DaveK
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      Christopher Snowdon has written an interesting piece on his blog Velvet Glove Iron Fist which links to his “The Critic” article titled “The lockdown’s founding myth”.

      • Zorro
        Posted May 30, 2020 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

        The future – imagine a (silk) boot stamping on a human face forever…..


    • jerry
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      @Steve; The virus was almost certainly already here by the time it was first known about and understood, this was proved in France when post-mortem samples from a man who died in early Dec. 2019 from “pneumonia” were retested, this time showing up CV19. Remember there was no test for Covid-19 before the virus had been identified, how could it be?

      I have also heard from people in Ireland who had what at the time was simply put down to a case of bad Flu, but in retrospect had all the added symptoms of CV19. Hard to believe, considering the amount of business and other travel between the UK and China, that there wasn’t similar early transmission into the UK.

    • Javelin
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      I hope they are going to allow the virus to do the rounds before the flu season starts.

      It boils down to the Govenment trying to avoid bad optics.

    • cynic
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      Re: BH.
      Totally agree with his comments.
      The biggest danger appears to come from those afflicted with mad panic disease – not Covid.

    • jerry
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 10:37 am | Permalink

      @Steve; As for an enquiry. It is increasingly clear that politics is running the show, not the science, so an enquiry might be the last thing supporters of those heading up No.10 policy might wish to have – unless of course it is an enquiry that would make even the old GDR blush…

    • beresford
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      Wasn’t the story that they left the borders open because the virus was already widespread? There is no other credible game in town than to let the virus run its course in the summer, as we were originally told was the strategy. Keeping us under indefinite house arrest in order to make us ‘safe’ will result in many more deaths when the economy collapses. Nobody is ‘safe’, we take calculated risks every day of our lives.

      • Bryan Harris
        Posted May 29, 2020 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

        Absolutely – Opening up the country at the end of the year is the wrong time to do it

        • jerry
          Posted May 30, 2020 at 5:34 am | Permalink

          @Bryan Harris; Your logic would suggest the virus is about to decimate Australia and NZ…

    • na
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

      Madness, total madness. In my opinion if there is to be an inquiry when this is over it should be to expose what Government was told and by whom.

      It is never going to be over. Your worst nightmare has only just begun.

  11. Dave Andrews
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    The more useful part of test and track would be to profile the infected people. What job do they do? Where have they been? Has anybody they live with been infected, and if so what do they do and where have they been?
    If this information is collated and analysed, it would give everybody an indication of what environments to avoid or take special care. Is the virus being spread by hospital workers on public transport? Is it circulating amongst supermarket staff? I might be able to avoid hospitals and sharing public transport by those who work there, but I can’t stop eating so I might get groceries delivered or be especially vigilant when going to the supermarket.
    At the start of the outbreak, I reasoned I should avoid travel and people who travel. Then when the infection was rife in hospitals and care homes with very few people travelling, avoid people who work in those places. In neither case was there any guidance from the government along those lines.
    Useful guidance could be given to the general public just by gathering a few pieces of information – you don’t need an app.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 7:24 am | Permalink

      The more useful part of test and track would be to profile the infected people.

      Yes and this should have been in place for the last 8 weeks while we have been incarcerated so tracking was relatively easier.

      A premier league footballer came back from 8 weeks lockdown and tested positive. An interesting test case, we could discover much from cases like this. “I haven’t been out guv”

      • a-tracy
        Posted May 29, 2020 at 9:48 pm | Permalink


    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      And who is going to organise and pay for that profiling?

      In whose job description is it?

      • Caterpillar
        Posted May 29, 2020 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

        8.4 million people furloughed and paid for by the Govt (well paid for by future loss of life) – I think there is sufficient labour resource available.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted May 30, 2020 at 6:16 am | Permalink

          I haven’t seen any jobs advertised or pay scales announced by the Government, have you?

          • Graham Wheatley
            Posted May 30, 2020 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

            I think you miss his point.

    • Jonah
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      The Norwegians have now looked back at the actual data for March rather than models and have reached the conclusion that the virus was decreasing of it’s own accord before any lockdown measures were introduced. The full lockdown was not needed there. Surely we can now do the same analysis and if the virus was on the same path here we can move to an approach of letting people Use their common sense and get on with their lives. If some people want to stay isolated they can do.

      It sounds ruthless to talk about the economy but it’s vital to everyone’s health and safety going forward, every week now is critical to save jobs.

      The main areas of concern though for the U.K. are hospitals and care homes we haven’t protected the vulnerable. Cross contamination levels must be extremely high amongst staff and patients. That’s where I would focus my track and trace team.

      • Caterpillar
        Posted May 29, 2020 at 10:01 pm | Permalink


        Thanks for this tip. With the aid of online translation (5000 characters at a time) I have been reading the Norwegian report of 5th May (knowledge etc after week 18 – Kunnskap, situasjon, prognose, risiko
        og respons i Norge etter uke 18). Well worth a read. Is there a more recent one?

        Two interesting things about this report are the (i) the admission that getting to zero cases is unrealistic and that Norway will be managing the epidemic for many years but only a few will become seriously ill and (ii) explicit acknowledgement of some of the harms done by various interventions.

        Therein some of Norway’s changes to interventions at that time are enumerated (using online translation so no guarantees of correctness) –

        1. Hygiene must continue.
        2. Extended testing.
        3. Home quarantine – reduce the quarantine period to 10 days and no quarantine if confirmed illness in last six months (probably immune).
        Consider alternatives to quarantine.
        4. a. Travel measures – entry quarantine is of little importance as long as both countries have low occurrence.
        b. Unnecessary domestic travel – little importance as long as not to/from most infected places in the country.
        5. Social distancing > 1 (one) metre maintained but recommended group size limit of 5 is removed since if the distance recommendation is met, the group size has little meaning.
        6. Invitation to home office – can be replaced in many cases by workplace facilitation.
        7. Repeal of closed schools and universities as it inhibits learning -replace by infection control procedures.
        8. Prepare the health services, especially the intensive care units and nursing homes, at a high level for the number of patients with covid-19 so that it can deal with any increase in the epidemic. At the same time, the health service must not reduce its regular activity unless it is absolutely necessary. It is necessary with a continuous overview to increase the intensive capacity in the country.

        I felt that the stress of hygiene was high (hands, cleaning, 1 m distancing) and ensuring care homes and hospitals are prepared, remain prepared and improve preparedness.

        Personally I feel the UK lost focus on hygiene due to the knee-jerk lockdown followed by all the noise of announcements about world leading this that and the other. The UK clearly lost focus / never had sufficient focus on vulnerable and care homes. The UK cancelled regular health service activity.

        Hopefully the PM will rapidly learn the lessons in the UK, remove the people and policies that need removing and move forward with an economy that is allowed to function within a more appropriately measured response.

        [I have little hope whilst Hancock, Sunak and Patel are in place. That Hancock continues destroying future lives to give preferential treatment to those that he feels worthy remains unethical as well as economically dubious].

    • Mark
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      According to the RAMP project there has been difficulty getting hold of such information because of data protection laws. I think that is partly because they wanted details of a large number of people’s lives for modelling, but it has also meant there has been a general failure to collect the basic information you suggest even on a statistical sample basis. Equally, there has been no attempt to investigate those who only get mild cases, who don’t even get to inform their GP, so we have little idea about them.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

      apparently abattoir workers have been hit pretty badly

      • Fred H
        Posted May 29, 2020 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

        not with the stun gun I hope?

  12. Sakara Gold
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    Thank you for this well considered post.

    The issue of the mechanics of the test and trace procedure(s) can be clarified, though I doubt if Hancock has a suffient grasp of the science to understand it.

    Whether the test kits themselves are accurate enough to make it work as intended is dubious; we need 99.5% accurate test results as a minimum.

    • glen cullen
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

      I wonder what the trace/test, isle of wight results are ?

      • Graham Wheatley
        Posted May 30, 2020 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

        Aside from the initial hype, we’ll likely hear nothing further, because it will be a monumental failure.

        The policy appears to be to make this ‘event’ seem as awful as possible, otherwise we would have also had figures for 1) those released from ICU, 2) those released from hospital and 3) people who have recovered from the disease, all mentioned in the daily No.10 Briefings. It would be beneficial for the morale of country – would it not – to also release some good news?

        Oh sorry. Silly me. that would ‘detract’ from the message that Hancock wishes to get out. There’s something about that guy that my gut feeling tells me to distrust. He needs to be watched. Closely.

  13. Ian @Barkham
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    Sir John
    Some of your questions have already been answered and are in the public domain.
    As long as people close to you have a ‘modern’ phone and it is turned on, the proximity of the blue tooth signal identifies them. It is the same way that you can get to listen to others telephone conversations, but this time with added auto pairing. That is why your car recognizes you. It also identifies distance and time spent in the vicinity. So the parameters are built in. The software is open source and available to scrutinize on GitHub.
    Downside, no phone, no phone on – you take the same chance as before. Big brother is close but much to the disappointment of some, has not yet been fully unleashed.
    The CDC i.e. the outfit that uses proper science for health conclusions, tells us that the real spread of the disease is primarily airborne. Yes, being in close proximity to a ‘carrier’ (whether they display it or not) of the disease increases you chance of contracting it – public transport, private cars and so puts you at risk.
    With the likelihood of a fully functioning vaccine somewhere over the rainbow we have to be honest that the best defense as it always was for the greater majority is heard immunity. The real serious protection that would allow normality to return is ‘common sense’ but for the most part that deserted the UK sometime back. The UK has turned into a an ‘instructions’ please society and they have to be very detailed cover all scenarios cross every ‘t’ and dot every ‘i’ .
    As most of us have come to recognize the Government will suggest the use of any advice that suits the political decision. The objective being is to pass the blame if they get a very difficult situation wrong.

  14. MickN
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    I don’t think this is going to work. How are the great British public going to cope with the complexity of track and trace when a couple of weeks ago it seemed half of the population including political leaders could not comprehend what “Stay alert” means?

  15. David Cooper
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    What happens when a GP or a nurse, having made full use of PPE to diagnose an infectee and thereby kept out of harm’s way, is arbitrarily grounded by this government IT diktat? Who deals with the NHS patients then? There are many more anomalies waiting to be identified.

    The best assessment of this scheme may be found via a reference to the classic final episode of Blackadder Goes Forth, in which Edmund explains that the opposing powers’ plan to avoid war had one tiny flaw. Rather than spell out Edmund’s answer to George’s question as to what it was, I will simply observe that our good host may have effectively invited Matt Hancock to conclude that this is the case.

  16. Irene
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    While you’re at it, JR, get Hancock to ditch the ridiculous video the PM showed at yesterday’s briefing. It’s a classic example of how NOT to get a message across.

  17. Alan Jutson
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    Rules, rules, and more rules.

    It is starting to get complicated now, so more and more confusion will be released.

    Quite honestly it is up to each individual to try and be as safe as they can, using their own common sense, those who did not understand simple instructions at the early stages, certainly will not understand them now.

    The older you are, the greater the risk if you do catch it, so keep contacts to the minimum and remember that whilst the young ones are not at anywhere near at risk themselves, they are like everyone else, all potential carriers which can affect badly the more vulnerable.

    As suggested by many before it even started, the NHS App appears to be failing in its testing, so yet another possible high tech computer failure, to add to all of then others.
    Whatever was wrong with the systems that were proven to work in the rest of the World ?

  18. agricola
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    You are asking an awful lot of Matt Hancock and even the better informed who brief him. The only answer is to test the whole population and advise those that fail the test to self isolate and seek medical help if necessary. The majority of us can then travel, work and holiday with a degree of security. That is all it is because even such testing is not absolute and would need to be repeated at intervals.

  19. Peter
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    It seems as though a line has now been drawn under the Cummings affair. Two Scottish politicians have travelled further with less justification.

    I do wonder what happened to the Conservative whips during all this?

    Forty MPs disagree publicly with party statements and urge the Prime Minister to sack Mr. Cummings.

    It has been said that whipping is easier when most politicians are physically in and around Westminster. MPs can be canvassed and advised in person. There are claims that WhatsApp groups make organised dissent easier and the whips job harder.

    I am not entirely convinced by this. Whips power seems to have diminished like that of the famous ‘men in suits’. Look how long it took the party to get rid of Mrs.May. Yet the man expected to wield the axe thought he had done well and was a contender to be the next Prime Minister. Funny old times.

  20. Steven
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    Perhaps you could also ask him why a disease whose symptoms are all identical to other well known ailments and that only kills those who were in the last stages of life anyway has been allowed to ruin our country. The actual symptoms of corona virus appear to be making millions of people lose the ability to weigh risk logically and calmly and continue to believe any ludicrous fear mongering even when denied by experts and proved to be false.

  21. Richard1
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    The Chinese communist party through a newspaper has said that if the U.K. does kick Huawei out from our 5G network there will be sever repercussions for the U.K. what more evidence do we need that Huawei is in effect an arm of the CCP, is completely subject to the whims of the CCP and that the CCP sees strategic value in having Huawei having access to and control of our 5G network? Get rid of them.

    • Fred H
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

      China to ‘sever’ things with us is what I’d hoped for – – but sadly I think that should have been ‘severe’?

  22. Newmania
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    As numerous other countries have already instituted this system successfully(long ago) you might have thought, we did not need to add to the series of blunders by which the Uk has managed to kill more of its people than any other advanced Nation .Some hope .
    We may be resigned to 1oth rate and comically mendacious government for now , but there are signs the country is shaking off its fear of Corbyn and the self indulgence of Brexit. People are starting to see that the basic competence we once took for granted was a precious thing and we need it back
    This is no time for jokers populists and fools . Things , real things , must be got right .
    By this I mean …actually right ,not merely that a lot of people think it might be ok based on some vaguely understood waffle and ever changing excuses .
    The same sort of right we are accustomed to in our work.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 6:20 am | Permalink

      Read the comments here.

      It’s quite clear that the fixated Right do not care about the mass deaths of their fellow countryfolk.

      They do, strangely, care very much more about the European Union’s having imposed efficiency standards on light bulbs and on vacuum cleaners however.

      There may be a lot of them, but they are absolutely not normal..

      • Edward2
        Posted May 30, 2020 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

        You will have to venture out one day Martin
        Most of us need to work to earn a living.
        You refuse to look at the huge variety of methods used by different nations and the often odd results.
        Some nations have had hardly any cases.In Africa and Middle East surprisingly few deaths.
        Sweden 8th in the chart with 7 EU members above it for deaths per million.
        Hong Kong Palestine very few cases.
        Lockdown helps but there must be other factors causing the variations.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted May 31, 2020 at 10:07 am | Permalink

          In Qatar, it’s three years in prison and £50,000 fine for going out without a mask.

          Maybe that has something to do with their success?

          Some peoples take serious things seriously, others are more flippant about them.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 31, 2020 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

            I didn’t mention Quatar.
            Spain had a stricter lockdown than us but did worse.
            There are many nations with very few deaths.
            It requires more study into the dozens of diff6factors creating these many different outcomes than you think

  23. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    If everyone in a household of a person who has “come into contact” with an infected person has to self isolate, we will all be spending more time indoors than we have for the last 8 weeks home arrest without even being permitted to exercise or shop for food which has made the over reaction bearable.

    I will not be downloading any app that leads to my incarceration for being near someone.

    Time to let this virus do its worst but the tracers can be useful to develop a transmission profile which will help give more advice about avoiding catching it. Adapt and survive. Not hide and wither.

  24. Sakara Gold
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    Wonderfull news for the economy and the planet yesterday. The Energy Secretary Alok Sharma announced that the biggest UK solar plant has been approved on industrialy farmed land on the N Kent coast and is supported by Friends of the Earth.

    Cleve Hill Solar Park will produce 350MW of clean renewable energy, will be entirely subsidy-free and will include a massive energy storage system.

    This anouncement – made during a month when 75% of our energy needs have been met by renewable sources – will reinforce the UK’s position as the clear world leader in renewable energy.

    Hip Hip!!

    • glen cullen
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

      bet it doesn’t reduce a single household bill

    • Martyn G
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

      Only when the sun shines, which it its inclined not to do so in Winter – or perhaps for a very short time and then the owners of this monstrosity will be paid £m each year in subsidies, courtesy of home owners who will have to be taxed in order to support it.

    • Mark
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

      Given that National Grid has just applied to OFGEM for emergency powers to deal with solar surpluses by turning off solar parks, I’m not so sure that this park will manage to achieve financial closing. It plans to have storage for two hours of midday output in summer months, but that will be useless in winter time, which is when it might pay better to store from midday to the evening rush hour. The thing is that anyone who can install a battery or other storage (such as Dinorwig pumped hydro) can compete in that short term storage market. Batteries so far have had to rely on income from second to second grid balancing operations to underpin their economics.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      My energy plan comes to an end in June. I have been watching closely for a reduction in prices following the evident lowering of industrial demand.

      Price cuts came there not.

    • Graham Wheatley
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

      Sakara Gold,

      Bolleaux. That is only ‘true’ because of the lockdown on travel – which mostly uses fossil fuel.

      If nobody ever flicked-on so much as a light-switch then ‘green energy’ could supply 100% of our needs. FFS get a grip.

  25. Chris Dark
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    When are the Welsh and Scottish governments going to get their acts together and start co-operating with England? The variations in lockdown and re-opening procedures are continuing to cause family stress. In England I can now meet up to six people outdoors, apparently, but cannot go to Wales or Scotland to visit my family members, some of whom I have not seen since Christmas. I’m sure similar aggro applies to folk who have relatives in Cornwall, Lake District, etc, where visitors are openly discouraged in case they bring the lurgy with them.
    We have become a nation, indeed nations of frightened gutless wimps. Are we to now spend the rest of our lives in thrall to a sub-microscopic organism, permitting ourselves to be tracked and traced like chipped dogs?

  26. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    Precisely and this could have been done from day 1. Just simply ask a few questions of anybody who tested positive. Now we would have data on hundreds of thousands of people.

    It seems typical of the NHS system which has always worked in corrective rather than preventive mode. Now it’s not even working in corrective mode for the most part.

  27. ChrisS
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    The whole idea of 2m distancing is a perfect example of typical British civil service “gold plating.” 1m is the distance used in almost every significant country except Germany and the USA and it seems inexplicable that our government is still insisting on 2m, even outside where we know the risk is dramatically lower.

    However, on public transport, I believe that using 1m should only be accompanied by the compulsory use of face coverings to restrict the spread of droplets in still air but they seem remarkably reticent to go down that route. Why not ?

    I feel relieved that I am in the fortunate position of not having to use public transport.

    • a-tracy
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

      Lots of British people I walk past on my exercise, on a quiet route that is just over 2m wide, obviously have no idea how long that is, I line up obediently behind my husband while they stroll past two abreast, cyclists pass us at speed less than 1m, most pavements are only 1.2m wide and too many people just stroll straight past each other. Saying all this, just how are the people that are newly infected with symptoms, so bad they’re going into hospital, catching it – we’ve been locked down for ten weeks! It’s only supposed to have a two week isolation, just give us the facts on one hospital WHERE IS IT STILL COMING FROM? We have to know to reduce our individual risk, allow us to be responsible for ourselves, because relying on lockdown should have stopped this in its tracks a couple of weeks ago.

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted May 30, 2020 at 11:04 am | Permalink

        We have to presume they just don’t get asked where they’ve been or who they’ve seen. Totally crazy -there could have been enormous datasets by now just by answers to thos 2 questions.

  28. Andy
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    I am not going to bother with track and trace.

    If I get a call I won’t self isolate unless I get sick.

    If I get sick I won’t share contacts.

    I adhered fully to the rules which the PM’s top adviser broke.

    I am not involving myself in this failed governments surveillance attempts.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

      I think 18 million people coming into the UK since January will have had a slightly greater effect than the one person driving few miles. The main thing he did wrong was not to advise on closing our borders.

    • Fred H
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

      you better not tell us on here – dozens of us would dob you in.

    • Mark
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

      Did you take the same attitude to speeding when Mr Huhne was convicted by a court for both speeding and perjury, not just public opinion?

  29. David L
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    “Most of us will get it, most of us will get over it” a Senior medic in a London hospital told me in January, being quite dismissive of the general mood. This lockdown was only supposed to ‘flatten the curve’. Our unrealistic expectation of total safety in everything (fuelled by the legal profession I believe) has turned us into a bunch of paranoiacs. Being over 70 I’m aware that Covid could be very serious for me but I do wonder if the price of the restrictions is really worth it.

  30. Jack Falstaff
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    It seems clear that, to a certain extent, government is compelled “make it up as it goes along” given how little we actually know about this virus. It simply has no choice.
    That said, I am sure that Mr Johnson will be acting more on medical advice than in response to media pressure given that, not only has he actually had the virus, but it is hard to know whether what we hear is truly representative of public opinion or agenda-driven.
    Yet there is one thing that really disturbs me even more, independently of party politics.
    And that is, what happens if a serious computer virus now ensues?
    With more people working or managing their financial arrangements from home now this could be the last straw, and more so if it is against a backdrop of a second wave of the medical virus.
    Governments should prepare very seriously for this eventuality, as the day might well come when this happens without being man-made if AI reaches such a level of sophistication that it can engender its own source code for IT pandemics.

    • William Long
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

      Obviously the computer that gets a virus will have to self isolate for 14 days too!

  31. Know-Dice
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    I think too much is being made of “Physical Distancing”, there are so many variables – enclosed spaces, wind in your face etc. etc.

    Maybe it should be a requirement to always wear a mask in enclosed public access places, shop workers stacking shelves should also wear masks and gloves. Use hand gel before entering a building and when you leave.

    People should be reminded of the initial advice, wash your hands, disinfect surfaces constantly not just once a day.

    Just a bit of common sense…

    • a-tracy
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

      ‘Wash your hands’ I’ve always washed my hands lots, I use disinfectant wipes at work at my workstation and did before the outbreak, but I still used to catch bugs off people. You’re not telling me Boris wasn’t washing his hands and people keeping his work areas spick and span. I don’t think the politicians that caught this was because they weren’t following the strictest personal hygiene regime.

      I personally don’t know one person that has been diagnosed with covid19, not one thank goodness. I know a couple of people who think their cold/flu was covid19 but they weren’t tested and it cleared up quickly with no hospital or gp visits for any of them. I am anxious to know where are the clusters? How did the new patients from last week catch it? Do any of you know anyone who has gone to hospital with this last week and how they contracted it. 2095 new cases yesterday – where? Where are they working, mixing, where are they contacting the virus?

      • Graham Wheatley
        Posted May 31, 2020 at 12:14 am | Permalink

        I agree.
        Govt figures state that they soon hope to have 50 drive-through testing stations, 100 mobile units and three ‘mega-labs’ to deal with the 200,000 tests per day (we are nowhere near either at the moment, but let’s take those figures at face value…..).
        Introduce one other factor – say a working day of 10 hrs?

        The labs are unlikely to actually be taking the samples and will be dealing exclusively with analysing the test samples. That makes c.1333 tests (on average) per facility per day. = 133 test samples taken per hour = c.2 per minute, 1 every 27 seconds.

        Where are all these queues? If only 1/4 of those are actually in a queue waiting to be tested (others joining at intervals to maintain the throughput) and standing 2m apart, that’s a line 66m long – more if the testees are in vehicles.

        Really? I mean, REALLY?!
        200,000 per day is B.S. Utter B.S.

        I suppose we could count all the postal tests? And just like Postal Voting, those stat would also be open to manipulation & abuse.
        Just an observation like…….

  32. oldwulf
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    It would be nice to have an idea how many people are playing the game so ….. I would be interested to learn the % penetration of the app in my area.

  33. zorro
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    JR, how dare you question the world-class system of TTT (minus a T) brought into being by our dreaded Health Commissar Mat Hang Kok.

    It almost seems as if you are lampooning it because of its sublime brilliance in controlling our infected masses. Let me address your trifling questions to reassure you (laughs maniacally).

    1. The simplest thing is for everyone who was on the train to self-isolate because I am sure that the allegedly infected person would have travelled (in vain) up and down every carriage searching for a working toilet. There’s a method in our madness.

    2. As above – better safe than sorry 🙂

    3. Oh no no no – nice try – in fact our system is even more sublime because you can get multiple ‘bumps’ which could include consecutive isolation periods even if you don’t portray symptoms. So every time you go out you could be at risk of isolating through contact with someone else (laughs maniacally) and need to self-isolate (laughs even more maniacally).

    4. Stop trifling me with distances

    There, I hope that you are reassured that this will bring about the Great Return ordained by our Dear Leader Kim Jong Son, and just to make you more assured we have engaged the services of the former CEO of TalkTalk as the head of our TTT (minus a T) system for her sublime excellence in data handling matters!!


  34. glen cullen
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    The trace element requires a citizen to carry a smart phone of less then 2yrs old with Bluetooth switched on and the NHS app downloaded

    The trace element relies upon the good citizen to contact the NHS team via the app if they start to have symptoms (not tested)

    The trace element relies upon the good citizen getting a covid-19 test and confirm the results via app to NHS team

    The trace & track isn’t a cure so the citizen will have to self isolate

    The NHS trace & track team (which isn’t automated) will find everyone who has been within a 2m range of you via the Bluetooth info and contact those people to self isolate whether they have symptoms or not and instruct them to get a test

    So this system relies upon the competence of the 25,000 new employee of the NHS trace teams. The opportunity of people the carry their new phones with Bluetooth activated and the willingness of people to follow instructions from a NHS caller telling them to get tested

    Why don’t we just ask the general public if they have symptoms to get tested ?

    • Fred H
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

      I can imagine the hoaxes running riot once the contact message on the mobile is known.

      I’m phoning from BT, or MiCROSOFT, or HSBC bank, the NHS Covid-19 tracking team…..answer:
      ‘do the other thing and leave me alone, I’m blocking you as of now!’

  35. Mark
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    I think we need to know about the reliability statistics for the test, and which tests are being used. Also, there appears to be no procedure for securing an antibody test for those who think they may have already had the virus. I do not see the 14 day quarantine period being workable. I note there now seems to be less reliance on the app for tracing.

    Having looked at academic modelling of trace and quarantine systems, it is clear that they only work if a reasonably high proportion (say two thirds) of contacts of an index case are identified promptly (within hours, not 2-3 days after a delayed test result), and they go into quarantine until they pose no infection risk (which may be decided by testing rather than elapsed time). It is not essential to trace all contacts so long as there is speed and reliable quarantine. There is a tradeoff between tracing percentage and effective rapid quarantine percentage. Those you do not trace rapidly will probably have passed any infection on by the time you find them. There is a reasonable chance that if someone does pass on an infection untraced, the unidentified contact will show up as symptomatic or a contact of someone else who is symptomatic. For most, it may matter less if contacts on public transport or mistresses etc. are not identified, unless they are a high proportion of contacts of an index case, which is primarily a problem for those with a complex London commute.

    It seems to me that

    1) we should be asked to keep diaries that will aid in contact tracing, and workplaces should be instructed to be ready provide lists of co-workers who work together in proximity.

    2) we need to think more about quarantine and testing. Studies show that most infections were passed on at home and at work (including by workers in hospitals and care homes), so confining people to homes makes it more likely that anyone infectious will pass on the illness, as so many of our homes are quite inadequate for isolation. Should we have isolation hotels? Is there sufficient support for those who are told to isolate, particularly where children are involved? Will we, like Korea, put entire stairwells in blocks of flats into quarantine?

    3) contacts will find it makes sense within the rules to claim that they are suffering from symptoms immediately, whether they are or not. That will allow them to ask for a test to see if they are infected, and potentially to reduce their period of quarantine. This is where the parameters of the test are important: how soon after infection is it reliably detected, as this affects the risk of falsely testing negative? What is the risk of a false positive that may give an uninfected person a shorter quarantine, yet they may in fact go on to acquire the infection after testing, and become a spread risk?

    4) Contacts who believe they have already had the virus should surely be entitled to an antibody test which could free them from quarantine if it is positive. That not only reduces the economic damage caused by being off work, but also may provide a key helper in a household where others may still have to remain in quarantine until testing can release them.

    5) it is very unclear how people are expected to travel to a testing centre, particularly for those who identify as being symptomatic and therefore are a clear risk to others.

    The whole thing needs a bit more thought and explanation.

    • Zorro
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      It’s a face saving exercise, nothing mire nothing less, in the vain hope that they will evade responsibility for imposing this catastrophic “lockdown”….


      • Graham Wheatley
        Posted May 31, 2020 at 12:27 am | Permalink


        “The whole thing needs a bit more thought and explanation”.

        No. The whole thing needs SCRAPPING.
        It – like HS2 – will be a monumental failure, and ultimately a waste of both money (which we don’t have now….) and human resources.

  36. Andy
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    I noticed Brexiteers delight at Nissan’s announcement yesterday. “Take that Remoaners” was the thrust of their argument. Unsurprisingly most Brexiteers appear not to have read the details. Oops.

    Nissan announced its small plant in Barcelona would close. It said some production would shift to Sunderland. But, crucially, Nissan did not say there would be more jobs in Sunderland. Rather it asked for more efficiencies – workers will be expected to do more with less. Initially this may not mean job cuts – it might means worse hours. But portraying it as good news really is false.

    Nissan has also made it clear that Europe – which including the UK is not its focus. Raising long term concerns about the plant. Some Renault production may move there but the French government owns a significant stake in Renault and it will clearly not protect British jobs if French jobs are at risk.

    The type of Brexit the Tory thugs are now negotiating will destroyed the British car industry. But anyone who thinks motor manufacturers will all up and leave next January is deluded. It will take them many years, decades even, to fully withdraw from the UK. But most of them will. You may end up with just one or two remaining motor manufactures serving the rump market of Great Britain.

    We can have our own version of the Trabant. The Vauxhall Brexit – it doesn’t go in the direction the driver says it will and, before long, all the wheels fall off.

    • Edward2
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

      I could easily imagine your ranty polemic headed I told you so if Nissan had decided to close Sunderland.
      But you are disappointed.
      They didn’t
      Another failed Project Fear prediction by you.
      Hilarious to see.
      Yet again.

    • Martyn G
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

      Tory Thugs? Andy, your paranoia is becoming ever more evident. Take another pill laddie and join the real world….

    • Caterpillar
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

      Yep French nationalism/colonialism is pretty ‘impressive’, it has allowed it to maintain (I think) the world’s largest EEZ.

  37. Everhopeful
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Isolate the sick!

    • glen cullen
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

      wise words……worked for the flu every year for decades

  38. RichardP
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    As usual so many questions and so few answers.
    One thing for certain is that scammers will be taking full advantage of this latest Government fiasco.

  39. Everhopeful
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Why not just isolate those who have become ill?

    • Everhopeful
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 9:22 am | Permalink

      Sorry…that “duplicate” thing again! Please delete if necessary.

  40. Javelin
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    70% of people don’t show symptoms.

    Of the last 30% the person is contagious for days before showing symptoms.

    So let’s say 80% of possible transmitters won’t contribute to the track and trace app.

    It might work a bit but not by much.

    As I said from the start the vulnerable should have been locked down with lots of help and the healthy should have worn PPE, worked safely and got on with living.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

      How come so many other countries have managed to stamp out the contagion so effectively then?

      These surveys were not very systematic, rigorous, or extensive.

      UK data seems poor.

      • a-tracy
        Posted May 29, 2020 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

        These ‘so many other countries have managed to stamp out the contagion’ compared to the U.K. -v- what is their racial profile as we are told the Bame population are at greater risk, what is their diabetic profile – we’re told diabetics make up 25% of the numbers, how many people arrived there by air, cruise boat and ferry in the previous 12 weeks compared to the U.K. (we were told Australia’s outbreak was pretty much all off the same cruise boat and their infection trail on public transport).
        How many people have we treated in hospital that came into the U.K. in the month before they required treatment?

        U.K. data sharing is poor.

        • a-tracy
          Posted May 29, 2020 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

          I’d also like to know if the patients in hospital with covid 19 in the last three months had anything in common like the flu jab due to their underlying conditions or age or job?

      • Graham Wheatley
        Posted May 31, 2020 at 12:30 am | Permalink

        Perhaps we should follow North Korea’s example? They plainly have got it absolutely right – no cases at all!

        All countries tell the truth. Always. Don’t they?

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted May 31, 2020 at 10:09 am | Permalink

          So you are calling the clinicians and coroners of Australia, New Zealand, Norway etc. liars?

          That could otherwise be hilarious.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 31, 2020 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

            He didn’t say that did he Msrtin.
            Making things up again.

  41. JavelinHete
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    What happens if a client in a hairdressers reports they have covid. There is to be a 1:1 contact between a hairdresser and a customer.
    Does this mean the whole salon locks down or just the single hairdresser?

  42. John E
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    The methods used by South Korea are readily implementable here. There is no need for the tracking app fiasco or the chaos that this new approach will cause.

    The UK government decided that the infringement of privacy implied by the Korean approach would not be accepted by us because they use phone location data and credit card purchases to track people. Note they didn’t ask us or discuss that decision.
    If it’s the price of returning to normal life with South Korean levels of efficiency in tracking outbreaks I would happily sign up. These are extraordinary times.

    We are sick of hearing “world beating” waffle. We just want a system that works.

    • Fred H
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

      the only thing world-beating about it all is the delay in each step.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

      But if the Government declared that it was going to use “the South Korean method” then people would rightly expect it to be as effective as it was there.

      However, with the utter shambles of outsourcing to a fragmented and disparate private sector here – as doctrine dictates – it could never be implemented effectively, and would fail.

      And people would then draw the correct conclusions.

      So that will be avoided.

      • Edward2
        Posted May 29, 2020 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

        It wasn’t outsourced to the private sector.
        PHE and the NHS didn’t want to involve the private sector in this crisis.

        Total nonsense from you again.
        Stop your ridiculous fake news martin

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted May 30, 2020 at 6:25 am | Permalink

          The Tories have been in power for TEN YEARS.

          You have the PHE and the NHS that they have fostered, no one else. Not Labour, not the European Union.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 30, 2020 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

            I just expect these well funded public bodies to competently do their job.
            They refused to use private laboratories.
            Germany didn’t.

            I expect you would blame them if Labour was in power.

  43. glen cullen
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    First Minister for Wales Mark Drakeford interview on Sky this morning

    He suggested that there is different guidance in Wales because they receive difference scientific advise and can under devolution conclude and act independently. I thought the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) was for England and Wales

    It got me thinking about the fact that the four nations of the UK are doing lockdown differently resulting from four differing scientific advise…..but which one is correct ?

    Why don’t we have a single SAGE type group for the UK ?

    Duplication and waste….four (4) of everything
    Public Health x4
    Committees x4
    Management structures x4
    Directors x4
    Scientific Advisory groups 4
    Building, equipment and staff x4


    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

      Yes, it would be far better if it were all assigned to the European Union, wouldn’t it?

      After all, that saves a twenty-sevenfold mass of repetition in all manner of things, doesn’t it?

      • Fred H
        Posted May 30, 2020 at 9:16 am | Permalink

        that pre-supposes we WANT all manner of things!
        I very much doubt it.

    • Mark
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

      It is plain that Wales has failed to get things under proper control. I have just updated my GB map of new virus cases in the past 7 days


      It’s very obvious that now even Scotland is doing better at stamping out cases. No-one seems to be asking why the Welsh performance is so bad, or how they might improve. After all, they are banning all visitors.

      • a-tracy
        Posted May 30, 2020 at 8:19 am | Permalink

        Thank you Mark.

  44. ukretired123
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    The 2 metre queue is rendered useless if upwind or downwind of an infected person.
    Also some folks think they need to leave incoming posted letters for 3 days before opening!!!
    Common sense is required as usual.
    I can see lots of folks looking down at smartphones being a danger to city traffic bumping into things ….

  45. Mark
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Many useful ideas in the comments.

    I presume and expect that these and other concepts are routinely being discussed by the scientists and politicians in their meetings.

    Setting out credible and actionable steps for the public, based on risk management principles is not easy. It’s hard enough in a business context where the workforce can at least be told what to do and are better educated on the issues.

    I also don’t believe the government and civil servants would deliberately plan to not implement best practice.

    • Mark
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

      Please can you identify yourself with an added qualifier – as Mark B has done, for example? Long time commenters try to stick to their original names here, so that it is easy to work out which comments are from the same person. It’s much appreciated, and avoids confusion.

      • Graham Wheatley
        Posted May 31, 2020 at 12:33 am | Permalink

        You could change yours?

  46. Wula Penscar
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    “more than 15 minutes” with an infected person. On what scientific basis, theory or scientific evidence? What happens if you forgot to time the event? How is one to know to time the event as it may be a non-event? How do you practice social distancing in most Works vans which transport vital workers in electricity, water, sewerage, plumbing , telecommunications, police vans and cars used for transporting arrested persons?
    Why the differences in distances below? How is one supposed to know going abroad the measures?
    USA uses 6 foot distancing.
    “Germany’s use of 1.5 metres”
    U.K. 2 metre.
    “WHO advice of 1 metre “

    • Fred H
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

      use a stopwatch and start it when close to each next person. At 14 minutes run like hell….

  47. Graham Wheatley
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Sir John,

    This is – unfortunately – yet another half-baked scheme seemingly ‘planned’ on the back of a fag-packet.

    It is unworkable, unenforceable (unless by some draconian police-backed crackdown) and will be a monumental failure.

    To echo the advice given by the banking and financial institutions in regard to data security; can anybody seriously envisage huge numbers of the population willingly giving out personal contact details to a faceless voice on a telephone, or indeed someone they don’t know, visiting at their door?

    The only thing that this ‘plan’ will achieve is mass civil ‘disobedience’. And if Mr. Hancock makes this ‘mandatory’ and backs it with police action, then we are a very short step away (some would say that we already have) a Police State.

    I would be grateful if you would also ask Matt Hancock to consider what would happen in the event of disgruntled spouses getting back at their other half by falsely claiming that they had ‘been in contact’? Or people with a grudge against another? Ex-employees targetting the boss who sacked them?

    If (and a BIG IF, I would suggest) people do sheepishly comply with these instructions, then the domino-effect of it will also bring the country to a standstill. Again.

    This scheme raises another Logic-Failure flag indicating that Mr. Hancock is scrabbling around looking for something – anything – that can be used to save the face of both himself and the Government.

    This is not going to end well, for anybody.


  48. forthurst
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    This is a typical UK government response to a situation which is clearly its responsibility: do-it-yourself track and trace. How will this work for the estimated 80% of cases that are asymptomatic? The only way of preventing the asymptomatic from spreading disease is to enforce the wearing of facemasks in public places and to have a policy of active not re-active testing. As the unfolding of this pandemic has clearly demonstrated, the government consists of bungling know-nothings presiding over the highest death rate in the world; when are they going to start learning from well run countries?

    The government has got several problems to solve: how to reduce the number of clusters down to a level at which it is relatively safe to partially open up the economy, how to eliminate new clusters that form before they grow out of control, and how to identify activities and behaviours such a pub-crawling which will need to be discouraged because their propensity for spreading disease is too great, that until some form of general mitigation is available. They also need to stop producing statistics of no practical utility such as those on the government Coronavirus dashboard.

  49. Fred H
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Subject: the schools.
    Surely children are not having a mobile in their pocket (traceable)? The only people who could be detected are teachers/admin staff carrying a mobile.
    If children’s mobiles are collected at school how are they stored? In a box labelled. So when a virus is detected the whole lot will be contacted to self-isolate?

  50. William Long
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    Surely the fact that the testing may take 48 hours is a major shortcoming? Will not this 48 hours ne the time when the subject is most infectious?

    • a-tracy
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      You should be able to go to one doctors locally with a testing booth with a couple of staff to do this booked in testing, perform a temperature check, why do you need the test, symptoms log, update the Spine record. Quick result.

      Then what contacts can’t just down tools and walk straight out of their life, they need to safely put their masks on, keep a greater distance, close down and hand over then go and get tested, we don’t all work isolated at home nor can we.

  51. Peter Cousins
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    In most countries where this works well the self isolating is immediate and then a test three days later. If negative no need for further isolation. This would lead to public acceptance rather than the draconian 14 days which is unrealistic and unnecessary.

  52. M Brandreth- Jones
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    1) I would imagine that any enclosed space poses the same problems and that self protection is the best precaution as there are those who will generally flout any rules because they are rules.
    2)It is going to be impossible to keep the infants away from each other especially in breaks , so it would be easier to manage in smaller classes and test all if needed.
    3) There is no definite evidence that any one is immune following an infection according to chief scientist.
    4)The line has to be drawn somewhere and further away the better.I personally feel that 2 metres is too near especially when queuing outside with any amount of wind to aid the aeresol infection

    As with anything some cannot cope without guidelines but then demonstrate that they don’t really care by leaving wipes masks on the floor, in supermarket trolleys etc.

    • a-tracy
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 8:30 am | Permalink

      This queuing outside for 15-t0 60 minutes could be the very thing that is causing the infection spikes and it is fine in the good weather we have had but the weather experts say bad weather is on its way.

  53. na
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    If they lock down housing estates will all the small shops have to close so everyone has to shop at the local supermarket hmmmmm ?

  54. na
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    We are just about to experience government as a religion in the mirror of the worst deceptive tyrannical behaviour of the medieval Holy Roman Empire.

    Orwell told us to stop it, we never did.

  55. hefner
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    From a purely technical point of view, I would be curious to hear answers to Sir John’s questions. Assuming that mobile phones have a class 3 Bluetooth (the less demanding on batteries, 1mW), all phones within a 10 m range should be ‘seen’ by one’s phone. The signal should travel at the speed of light or close to it as any electromagnetic wave does (300,000 km/s or near enough). This Bluetooth signal is emitted every 350ms.
    So how will the system be able to define whether I have been within 1m, 2m, or more from another person? I do not expect the clear clever people in either NHS or government to be able to disentangle this problem based on 10^-8 second intervals.
    So another possibility would be to use information from GPS geolocalisation. But here again the maximum horizontal resolution (in civil systems) is between 1 and 3 metres depending whether it is in open air conditions, within a covered area (as in trains or planes).
    To me, there is a huge amount of uncertainty likely to spoil what is presented to us as a ‘magic tool’ to help fight Covid-19.
    Anybody with more technical insights?

    • Fred H
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

      most of what has been alleged is hocus pokus.

      Ministers circled round the Cabinet table – arms linked chanting magic spells – with the blindfolded techie stood on the table brandishing a mobile in each hand – chanting ‘I see you, I see you!

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 30, 2020 at 4:50 am | Permalink

        Sounds about right. It is all about being seen to do something regardless of whether it has merit or can work. Rather like the Nightingale Hospital with no staff.

  56. glen cullen
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    Just watching the ”covid-19 and UK science” select committee with Professor Andrew Curran Chief Scientific Adviser, Health & Safety Executive

    Apart from SAGE and the devolved regional Scientific Advisers does every NGO, Quango, Govt Dept and local Govt all have their own ‘Chief Scientific Advisers’ ?

    Cronyism springs to mind

    • a-tracy
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 8:33 am | Permalink

      I wonder how much the Chief Science Advisor for Wales is on compared to the Chief Science Advisor for England and do we have seven Chief Science Advisors?

  57. Ian @Barkham
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    Yes I know it was the BBC, but they have just announced as part of the news headlines that the UK is under pressure to delay Brexit. Apparently more time is needed to arrange how the EU is going to govern the fishing in the UK territorial waters.

  58. David Brown
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    Overall I agree with your letter’ also a second total lock down must be avoided. Localised lock-downs for a short period may help if there is a second spike.
    However if Sheltered Homes for old people and other vulnerable people who have an underlying health condition are protected then I don’t see the need for a second shut down.
    There are increasing numbers of asylum seekers arriving who need to be tested. I am of the opinion that no matter what is said Politically people will continue to arrive protected by UN charters that Britain originally set up. I actually welcome such people many are educated and others needed for Agriculture, I hope more will come, however they should be tested.

  59. Lynn Atkinson
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    I suspect that our instinctive ‘personal space’ is the distance required to avoid being infected by strangers. Those allowed into our personal space are close friends and family, and we know that we share most of their immunity because of the close proximity living.
    What a blessed fuss and cost for nothing!

    • Jim Whitehead
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

      + + + + So accurately true

  60. Lynn Atkinson
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    POTUS has cut US ties with WHO. If he’s not careful he will prove to be the most effective President of all time!

    Wonder what he is doing after 2024?

    • glen cullen
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

      All we need now is real reform of the UN, NATO and IMF

  61. na
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    Trump has issued an executive order against UK politicians trying to censor Youtube, Twitter, and Facebook. I hope you all reflect on what you have been up to. Shame Shame Shame.

    Thank You Trump.

  62. mancunius
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

    “Why has the government decided to use the WHO guideline of 1 metre separation rather than the U.K. 2 metre?”
    Sir John,just trying to be helpful here: surely isn’t that a typo? Surely you meant to write “Why has the government not decided to use the WHO guideline of 1 metre separation” etc – as the 2m advice remains in place in the UK (and firmly stated on government websites as updated this evening 29 May).

    • mancunius
      Posted May 29, 2020 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

      sorry, in editing I produced a silly typo myself!:-) I meant to write:
      “Sir John, I’m just trying to be helpful here: isn’t that a typo? Surely you meant to…”etc

    Posted May 30, 2020 at 5:00 am | Permalink

    We need to have a discussion about why we have no MPs like Trump? The Tory party are largely a bunch of big govt Leftists OR are forever trying to virtue signal to the Left. This is because *unlike Trump, they are all cowards who will not face down the Left-wing media.

    Posted May 30, 2020 at 5:04 am | Permalink

    Trump and his Secretary of State know this virus thing is largely a complete hoax but it was sprung on them by the globalist Left and the Bush regime people.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted May 30, 2020 at 6:29 am | Permalink

      A hundred thousand dead and you call it a “hoax”.

      This country alone is catching up mind, sixty-four thousand in just a few months.

      For comparison, total civilian deaths in WWII in Britain were seventy-seven thousand, but in FIVE YEARS.

      • Edward2
        Posted May 30, 2020 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

        With ior from?
        Do we really know.

        How many 80 plus?
        How many with life threatening illnesses already?
        How many due to the NHS emptying their wards and sending old and infirm back into care homes?

        • Edward2
          Posted May 30, 2020 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

          Where do you get 64,000 from?
          I see only 38,000

          • Graham Wheatley
            Posted June 6, 2020 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

            His alarm clock failed to go off, and he dreamed it.

      • Fred H
        Posted May 30, 2020 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

        old age natural causes, industrial smog , winter flu, German bombing?
        Most happened in just 1 year. You don’t mention millions of men not in Britain during that period.

        Lies, damn lies, and statistics.

      • mancunius
        Posted May 30, 2020 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

        64,000 may sound an impressive number of deaths until you examine the actual UK death rate stats: 64,000 is barely more than 10% of the average UK mortality rate – which in any case fluctuates greatly according to how bad the winter flu was.
        64,000 over a period of ‘just a few months’, even if continued through the other three quarters to the end of 2020, would actually constitute an unprecedentedly low annual mortality average for the UK compared with the past 20 years.
        (Source: Statista, Hamburg: UK Death Rates)

        Many deaths of the elderly and those with genetic and acquired co-morbidities that would have happened over the coming five-year period (mainly during winter), have instead been concentrated now, in a far shorter period, i.e. people who would have died of a flu-type respiratory illness within the next five years died during this same short period instead. It remains to be seen in the next few years whether this concentrated spate of deaths depleted the population more than usual over an aggregate five- or ten-year period. We shall need ten years to see, one way or the other.

      • GAME OVER
        Posted May 30, 2020 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

        A hundred thousand dead and you call it a “hoax”.

        People die in the world Martin, even more, when nations lockdown and issue do not resuscitate orders as they expect a panic that never occurs.

        It has been well documented the numbers have been rigged everywhere.

  65. HeyHey
    Posted May 31, 2020 at 5:04 am | Permalink

    John, your questions make the arrangements look a bit of a shambles. However, I’d like to know how other countries that are abandoning or relaxing their lockdowns have dealt with these issues. I think that some individuals imagine that other counties have superior methodologies, but I’d like to know whether the whole issue worldwide has been kind of shotgun or suck it and see approach, or if there is evidence for a superior system.

  66. Lionel
    Posted June 1, 2020 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    like lambs to the slaughter

  • 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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