Friday, 27 March 2020

Opinion: Now they stew in their ineptitude


I still cannot forgive it
I was chatting to a friend in Nigeria when it was brought to my notice that Boris Johnson, the UK Prime Minister had tested positive for the COVID-19 Coronavirus. The unrefined human in me if given vent might have thought it was just desserts, for this is a man that subscribed to the atrocious ‘herd immunity’ scheme that would have allowed the Coronavirus to run through the population without the shield of a vaccine in a Social Darwinism experiment that defied logic.
Yet, I hope I have more of the qualities of the best of our humanity in me to commiserate and sympathise, to walk a hard-long mile in the shoes of another to wish him a speedy recovery. With that, one would hope that the hubristic effrontery that informed the blasé view that the public should take it on the chin will be tempered with humility and a realisation that we cannot take life for granted and that the Coronavirus is no respecter of persons.
Only yesterday, we learnt that Prince Charles, the heir-apparent had tested positive too with mild symptoms, I probably felt more concerned for him than for our bombastic Prime Minister. Also, we found out that the Secretary of State for the Department of Health and the Chief Medical Officer were showing mild symptoms.
Stand up for frontline staff
To them too, I hope they recover as well as come out better men. In all, we must understand what is playing out before our eyes. We had the time and scope to act yet found ourselves at the point where frontline NHS staff are exposed to risk without adequate protection despite assurances the Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) was stockpiled and being distributed. In my view, that wasn’t enough, the staff should be fully donned in PPE garb at the point of contact with those suspected of infection.
They have been meeting these patients for weeks, the urgency to supply the demand is present and immediate. The same goes for testing the staff so they are not taken out of service in self-isolation when needed the most.
The issue of ventilators is another where the UK was invited to the EU procurement scheme, but it ideological recalcitrance lost us that opportunity that the contract for manufacturing ventilators landed in the hands of a caterpillar maker and a vacuum cleaner manufacturer, both of them have no expertise in that field, whilst British companies with the knowhow were ignored.
Accountability and hope
Even in these pressing times, the government has not been weaned off the penchant of jobs for the boys. I would hope an inquiry into the government’s handling of the Coronavirus pandemic would be independent, far-reaching and unrelenting. There must be culpability for failings, irresponsibility and ineptitude. With high office comes such demanding responsibility and accountability. For once, I hope Mr Boris Johnson feels the weight of office with the truth that the buck does stop with him.
I don’t know where in the spectrum of the curve of managing pandemics we are in; it is likely to be longer than planned for. I wonder what the aftermath portends for travel and the requirements to be satisfied before embarking on a journey. I am however hoping for a better world beyond this.


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