COVID-19 disaster in Boris Johnson’s Britain

This 2 June 2020 video from London, England says about itself:

The Coronavirus Food Bank that went from Feeding 30 People a Day to Over 500

“We can’t keep up with demand”.

From daily News Line in Britain, 6 June 2020:

Pandemic 2018 simulation warnings totally ignored

AN EXERCISE simulating a coronavirus outbreak in Scotland, which was shared with a UK government advisory group in 2018, showed a ‘clear gap’ in preparedness, the BBC has learned.

A report into ‘Exercise Iris’ revealed frontline staff ‘unease’ over personal protective equipment and ‘the need for substantive progress’.

By Lamiat Sabin in Britain, 5 June 2020:

Government urged to scrap Serco‘s contract after leaked email

THE government was urged to scrap Serco’s contract for the test-and-trace system today after the outsourcing giant bragged it was using it to “cement” privatisation into the NHS supply chain.

Serco is among several firms being paid to recruit, coach and manage a network of 25,000 tracers in the scheme, which is being led by Baroness Dido Harding.

A leaked email from Serco chief executive Rupert Soames said he doubted the scheme would run smoothly — but hoped it would further embed private firms in the NHS supply chain.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain, 5 June 2020:

Editorial Serco’s secrets: how the pursuit of profit is wrecking our response to Covid-19

Serco‘s leaked admission that its track-and-trace work will ‘cement the role of the private sector’ in the NHS throws down the gauntlet to the left

THE right never wastes a crisis. The leaked email from Serco chief executive Rupert Soames exposes the ruthless cynicism with which the Tories are risking our lives in pursuit of their goals.

Those responsible for delivering the track-and-trace app don’t expect it to be fully operational for “three to four months.” Yet a functional track-and-trace system is a prerequisite for relaxing lockdown – without one, authorities cannot hope to identify and isolate Covid-19 outbreaks.

This blows apart the assurances the government has given that Britain – already, according to an analysis by the Financial Times, the country with the highest Covid-19 death rate in the world, at 891 per million – is adequately prepared to ease lockdown restrictions without risking another spike in infections and deaths.

From the start, the government has failed to prioritise protecting the public. Its late, patchy lockdown came weeks after ministers had been made aware by China and the World Health Organisation of the scale of the problem. Those weeks were not used to prepare.

When coronavirus cases began to multiply, front-line workers were still being denied the personal protective equipment (PPE) they needed to work safely. The price has been paid in mounting deaths among NHS workers but also among transport workers and cleaners, and in the unfolding tragedy that hit so many of our care homes.

Management in both the public and private sectors has fallen short when it comes to adapting workplaces to maximise safety, including in enforcing the government’s own social-distancing guidelines. More often than not it has been trade unions and their reps on the ground who have kept staff safe.

Nor has the government anything like an accurate picture of the spread of coronavirus among the millions of workers who have continued to go into the workplace throughout lockdown, because of its failure to conduct enough tests or properly prioritise tests for key workers.

We know – because an excellent report by We Own It and the University of Greenwich has demonstrated it – that the PPE shortage that forced so many NHS staff to risk their lives is a direct result of the chaotic impact of privatisation on NHS supply chains, with as many as four different junctures for the private sector to cream off profit between the commissioning of equipment and its arrival.

And now Soames’s email reveals that Serco was well aware that its contribution to track-and-trace would not go “smoothly” but recognised its importance to “cement the position of private-sector companies in the public-sector supply chain.”

When it comes to a project whose entire purpose is to stop a second wave of a lethal virus that is killing tens of thousands of people, not going “smoothly” equates directly to more people dying.

The inevitable consequence of rolling out a rough-and-ready solution to a rapidly evolving crisis? No, because the government declined expert assistance from the likes of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health in order to give the job to Serco, a company notorious for ripping off and actually convicted of defrauding the taxpayer.

Why? To “cement the position of the private sector.”

MPs who detect an ideological motive behind their opponents’ policies sometimes accuse them of “playing politics.” The assumption being that there is neutral ground on which policies are pursued on a “what works” basis.

The reality is that the decisions that shape our public services are deeply political and the left needs to be as clear-eyed as the right in recognising that.

The role of the private sector in delivering NHS services is a serious problem. It is responsible for failings that are killing people and will keep doing so.

The Tories are using this crisis. So must the left. Driving the profiteers out of our health service is a cause that can unite the overwhelming majority against this reckless, dangerous government.

By Peter Lazenby in Britain, 5 June 2020:

Boris Johnson must ‘stand up to Big Pharma’ over Covid-19 vaccines, campaigners say

CAMPAIGNERS urged PM Boris Johnson to “stand up to Big Pharma” yesterday by pledging at a global vaccine summit to make the coronavirus vaccine affordable for the world’s poorest people.

The demand came as world leaders congregated via video-link in the virtual Global Vaccine Summit chaired by Britain, during which Mr Johnson gave a keynote speech.

Mr Johnson called for “a new era of global health co-operation” and encouraged world leaders to raise £5.9 billion to distribute vaccines for various infectious diseases in some of the poorest countries over the next five years.

By Solomon Hughes in Britain, 5 June 2020:

Seen but not ‘herd’?

The newly released papers of the government’s secretive Sage group reveals ‘herd immunity’ was a recurring theme in many guises — despite government denials

CHANNEL 4’s Dispatches produced new evidence that Boris Johnson was pursuing a crackpot “herd immunity” strategy against coronavirus, which the government has again denied.

This just adds to the herd immunity evidence, some of which is very public.

There is in fact also evidence of the herd immunity plan in the recently released papers of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), which has been generally overlooked.

2 thoughts on “COVID-19 disaster in Boris Johnson’s Britain

  1. Pingback: COVID 19 disaster, worldwide update | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: British Conservative government’s COVID-19 disaster | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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