Wednesday, 11 March 2020

Opinion: Where they'll rather wash hands than show hands


It’s a pandemic
When Prime Minister in his usual bombastic demeanour appeared on national television to suggest that the somewhat Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic  could be dealt with in the UK with the words, “that’s where a lot of the debate has been and one of the theories is, that perhaps you could take it on the chin, take it all in one go and allow the disease, as it were, to move through the population, without taking as many draconian measures.” I felt a chill run down my spine.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has now revealed the long known open secret, the world is in the midst of a pandemic and Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO Director-General is “deeply concerned by alarming levels of inaction over the virus.” He should name countries and leaders because this no more a game for politicians, politics, or propaganda. [BBC News]
Now, certain commentators would suggest the Prime Minister was speaking in a broader context of managing how we respond to COVID-19 and to forklift ‘take it on the chin’ and ‘move through the population’ from what he said, to be an unfair representation of his opinions and resolve. [FullFact.org]
We need leadership, not bluster
Within the new cycle of hysteria whipped up by commentary that offers no further information than urgency, concern, panic and fear, becomes an onerous pertinent responsibility of our leadership to be honest, transparent and calming of the public, giving useful direction and instruction to ensure we are not herded into a stampede of senselessness. It is a time to be level-headed, sensible, and unperturbed because capable hands and minds are work for our general wellbeing and safety.
Yet, Boris Johnson is no person I can attribute the sense of responsibility in a time of crisis for the common good beyond personal aggrandisement, for what is demanded of him is of the import of the time when the man is required but absent, that in the recent crises that have befallen the nation, the Leader of the Opposition riled him as a part-time Prime Minister.
Lives have no time for semantics
However, despite the inadequacies of a man that has attained high office by expediency rather than for principle and public service, this is where my concerns are. For there are many in the country who for whatever context the Prime Minister intended cannot afford to ‘take it on the chin’, because of pre-existing conditions, frailty, immune-suppression, or some other handicap that would leave them more vulnerable and needing critical care if they contract the virus.
It presents no assurance to us, that when we look at the characteristics of a looming pandemic, as high morbidity, public panic, treatment difficulty, and contagion, the government needs to be proactive rather than reactive. If gatherings need to be curtailed to contain the spread of this virus, there should be clearly outlined processes in place to scale this out with immediacy.
It would appear other countries are getting ahead of the curve whilst liaising with their neighbours, especially the Europe that we are ideologically pulled out of and every useful organisation that just happens to have Europe as a prefix. I wonder if the possibility were there if the Brexit cohort would have liked to use a continental-strength barge to tow and moor the UK just slightly west of Greenland, to distance us from Europe as much as possible.
Washing hands at critical times
None of this, augurs well, then to read that the Health Minister has contracted the virus yesterday having been amongst crowds for the past week where being asymptomatic does not mean you’re not contagious. It is the height of irresponsibility for the Prime Minister not to submit himself to testing and probably self-isolation to ensure he is not a vector having met the affected Health Minister. I hate to think that hubris on the one hand and sycophancy on the part of his coterie might just be the undoing of that clique and claque. [The Independent]
It is not much of a blessing in this interregnum between assignments that my only contact with the outside world is presently a friend who pops in at any time during the day for a chat or refreshment. We are not expendable and by God, not the irresponsibility or ineptitude of that lot will cost us more than we have endured to this time. We will survive them. Lest I forget, the WHO requires governments to take “urgent and aggressive action” against the spread of the virus, with 460 infections and 8 deaths, whilst we wash our hands, the government should be showing their hand.

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