COVID-19 disaster in Britain, update

This 22 April 2020 video from the British parliament says about itself:

Jeremy Corbyn returns to the backbench

Jeremy Corbyn rebels against over 70’s #COVID19 guidance to ask [Conservative Health Secretary] Matt Hancock for further assurances on the availability of testing.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain, 28 April 2020:

Jeremy Corbyn: pandemic should make leaders realise arms spending does not protect us

Labour’s ex-leader speaks out at CND webinar

THE coronavirus crisis should serve as a wake-up call to other impending disasters awaiting humanity, including nuclear war and climate change, peace activists said today.

Speaking at a CND webinar, politicians including Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn and activists discussed whether Britain will honour its commitment to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

The objective of the international treaty is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology.

By Ceren Sagir in Britain, 28 April 2020:

Matt Hancock dodges call for apology from son of doctor who died while fighting coronavirus

MATT HANCOCK was asked to apologise today by the son of a doctor who died with coronavirus after warning the government about a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE).

The Health Secretary was confronted during a live phone-in on LBC by 18-year-old Intisar Chowdhury, the son of Dr Abdul Mabud Chowdhury, who died earlier this month.

Dr Chowdhury, who was 53, had written a Facebook post just five days before he was admitted to hospital asking Prime Minister Boris Johnson to urgently provide every NHS worker with PPE. He died two weeks after making the plea.

Flowers in Britain commemorate coronavirus deaths

By Bethany Rielly in Britain, 29 April 2020:

Ministry of Justice cleaners walk out after colleague’s death as nation mourns Covid-19 victims

WORKERS forced to clean empty offices at the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) downed tools today following the death of a colleague from suspected Covid-19.

The walkout coincided with International Workers’ Memorial Day, as millions across the country took part in a minute’s silence to honour key workers who have died from the virus.

The cleaners, who work at the government building in central London, claim they are being forced to go in because they cannot survive on statutory sick pay (SSP) if they take time off.

By Ceren Sagir in Britain, 28 April 2020:

A third of coronavirus deaths are taking place in care homes, new figures reveal

A THIRD of all coronavirus deaths in England and Wales are now happening in care homes, unrecorded in the government’s daily updates, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed today.

There were 2,000 coronavirus care-home deaths in the week ending April 17, double from the previous week, bringing the total number to 3,096.

Projections for the last week suggest that the numbers of Covid-19 deaths in care homes have continued to rise.

By Peter Lazenby in Britain, 28 April 2020:

TSSA urges Scottish and Welsh government against premature opening of rail networks

THE Scottish and Welsh governments were urged today to resist pressure from rail operators to resume services prematurely.

Transport union TSSA is calling on Scottish and Welsh leaders Nicola Sturgeon and Mark Drakeford to “prevent any premature reopening which may threaten the health of transport workers and passengers.”

General secretary Manuel Cortes said: “We are getting more and more reports of pressure and plans from management to return our members to their workplaces and increase services even though there are no safety plans in place and the need for it has not been explained.”

From daily The Morning Star in Britain, 29 April 2020:

After the crisis we need a new normal in the world of work

YESTERDAY, as is now routine, we were subjected to a blizzard of pious messaging from government ministers and the mainstream monopoly press valorising the routinely heroic work of essential workers.

No doubt, among the high officials, government ministers and the more elevated of media professionals there is a genuine appreciation that their health, safety and comfortable lives can proceed because of this essential work.

We will, for the moment, take this on trust. But a hint of the hypocrisy inherent in these utterances from on high is evidenced by the fact that as our official broadcaster transmitted these words of praise and appreciation there was a conspicuous failure to refer to the fact that it was International Workers’ Memorial Day.

There was no mention that this takes place every year as workers’ organisations, usually without a media fanfare, remember with respect the dead and injured at work and resolve to redouble our efforts to make work a safe environment.

The TUC confronts the issue with an honesty that contrasts with official hypocrisy.

Every year more people are killed at work than in wars. Most don’t die of mystery ailments, or in tragic “accidents”. They die because an employer decided their safety just wasn’t that important a priority. International Workers’ Memorial Day (IWMD) commemorates those workers.

The increased salience of these issues, not just the routine question of health and safety, but also the inevitable contradiction under capitalism between the drive for profit and the wellbeing of workers, means that among the millions of working people and their families there is stirring a sense that when this bloody war of attrition with Covid-19 has been fought to a relatively safe conclusion, things will have to change.

This week the prime minister — whose return to work is due to the efforts of health workers whose deserved pay rise was stymied by his and other Tory votes in Parliament — resumed his duties.

Note how carefully he calibrated his insistence that a return to the routines of capital accumulation – which depends, under capitalism, on the willingness of workers to take home just a proportion of the values they create – was inflected with a hint that he intends to “refine the economic and social restrictions” that stand in the way of this.

Pointedly he said he could not “spell out now how fast or slow or even when those changes will be made,” but he did promise to say more “in the coming days”.

The sharp-eyed will notice that both the chief medical and chief scientific officers insisted that they offer evidence and that ministers decide.

Today is National Postal Workers Day. If any group of workers define in their daily labours the truth that there is such a thing as society it is postal workers who are literally the sinews of social life.

It is remarkable how they have maintained an ethos of public service even as their sector of the economy has been privatised, their workplaces turned into profit centres and their work subordinated not to social need or economic efficiency but private profit.

In the so-called “Royal” Mail they face an employer whose postcode is profit. When Communications Workers Union leader Dave Ward says “When we come out of the other side of this there needs to be a revaluing of how workers in the UK are seen and recognised. We will not go back to ‘normal’ – we will create a new normal”, he tells us half the story.

Postal workers and their union have already begun the creation of the new normal when they turned in a massive near-total majority for industrial action both last year and this. Royal Mail bosses should not think that their employees’ willingness to prioritise keeping the nation connected during the pandemic means that mandate has weakened.

British Royal Mail

By mailwoman Sarah White in Britain, 29 April 2020:

Life in Royal Mail during Covid-19

In unprecedented times, from the moment of waking up, greater thought is put in to how we are going to get through the day. With a higher stress level than usual on how to keep ourselves safe while the company that employs us has acted too slowly in recognising the seriousness of the situation that the country is in.

Upon entering the building the immediate worry of maintaining the 2-metre social distancing with minimal space available is thrust upon us due to so many delivery offices under one roof.

As I progress though the building it soon becomes apparent due to the increase of parcels that space is of a premium which again causes problems with social distancing. After a slow start, social distancing signs were implemented.

Leaving the office to go out on delivery is almost a blessing as for the first time in the morning you won’t have the worry of space being the main concern.

Due to performing a rural delivery, I feel part of the community, I feel appreciated as well as being asked how I am and how my family are with many people thanking me for my efforts. I have a large amount of elderly customers on my delivery and although I cannot do what I usually do with the reduction of physical contact I still like to make sure they are ok or if they need anything, for example, any shopping or medication picked up.

I can safely say that for the first time since starting 20 years ago I feel we are certainly more appreciated alongside the NHS and other key workers.

I hope as a result Royal Mail management realises how important we are to the social structure of society in times of crisis and reassess the direction the company intends to go.

I am proud to be your local postie – say thank you to yours today.

Sarah White
Dartford unit representative

Sorting mail in Britain

By postman Ben Scott in Britain, 29 April 2020:

Proud to be your postal worker

Every morning it is the same. You sit in your car before work starts wondering if today is the day you are going to catch Corona.

We are all worried. Every day.

The Union has been great trying to keep us safe, we have new shifts, only one postie per van. But there are still concerns. PPE seems constantly in short supply. Keeping two meters away is hard in my office, it is an old building and a lot of us work here. But we are doing our best.

6 thoughts on “COVID-19 disaster in Britain, update

  1. Pingback: Deep-sea scaly-foot snails, new research | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Stay safe always. In our country, we are about to practice the new normal kind of life since we haven’t found yet a vaccine for covid. But of course, life has to continue after the lockdown.😊


  3. Pingback: COVID-19 disaster, worldwide news | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: Coronavirus disaster in Britain, poem | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  5. Pingback: May Day and coronavirus pandemic | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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