Category: Coronavirus

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Loathe it or hate it, lockdown 2.0 is around the corner, and it’s the government’s ideology of crisis-management that’s to blame

Alex Toal
serious young ethnic lady in medical mask standing near window and looking away on street

Get your hair cut and stock up on yeast: if you’re lucky enough to not be one of the ten million Britons already under increased coronavirus restrictions, then you are likely to join that number soon. Whilst the prime minister emphasised that he was “deeply, spiritually reluctant” to infringe on people’s freedoms in his announcement […]

Boris through the looking glass

Dr Pam Jarvis

In this upside-down, looking-glass world, Johnson plays the role of Lewis Carroll’s Humpty Dumpty to perfection, attempting to deceive an increasingly confused and anxious population that only he can correctly interpret his past statements. The prime minister has a track record of bending the truth, fabricating quotes and spreading disinformation about the EU, as well […]

From Operation Moonshot, to Project Overshot

Jane Thomas

Many were gripped by the shenanigans in parliament on Monday, and as the details unfolded so too did the government’s dilemmas. While I doubt they’re talking much about the internal market bill down the Dog and Duck, it’s certainly giving the government a headache – and one very much of its own making. The political […]

How will Covid-19 affect Europe’s beloved Schengen?

Kerry Pearson

“The risk we are facing is the death of Schengen.” Emmanuel Macron to EU leaders, 26 March 2020 As if Brexit was not enough to disrupt the harmony of the EU, Covid-19 poses a huge threat to European free travel. The ‘Schengen Area’, set up thirty-five years ago, is the passport-free EU zone that spans […]

Covid-19: four scenarios for our future

Jimmy Andrex

What might the future living with Covid-19 actually look like? STAT magazine, an online journal for health professionals based in Boston, Massachusetts, asked eminent epidemiologists for their best (informed) guesses as to how things might pan out: “Will it always have the capacity to make us so sick? Will our immune systems learn — and […]

Beyond lockdown: what now for schools?

Dr Pam Jarvis
alphabet class conceptual cube

The debate about returning to school continues in England, while Scotland’s schools have already returned. Boris Johnson claims that there is a “moral duty” for schools to fully re-open in September, but as ever, appears to be covering a lack of detail with his familiar, flowery rhetoric. Some media sources cite psychological problems in children […]

People’s Powerhouse: bringing communities into the covid recovery

Stephanie Riches

“There has been such an outpouring of good feeling and community spirit. I don’t want this to end.” This view, of one resident from the Yorkshire and Humber region, is reflected in so much of what people say to us when we talk to them about building a better future. Covid-19 has highlighted many challenges […]

Public health should be in public hands

Jane Thomas

This morning on BBC Radio 4, Minister of State for Health Edward Argar attempted to defend the indefensible by suggesting that the government will stick with Serco to provide the essential coronavirus test and trace programme. This is despite mounting evidence of the abject failure of the current test and trace programme run by Serco, […]

Yorkshire’s Covid-19 data

Yorkshire Bylines
pexels-photo-4031867.jpeg

Let’s be clear. At the best of times, local authorities provide and manage the infrastructure of modern life on slashed budgets. Then people blame them for everything. In these worst of times, they are leading the fight against Covid-19 as well as still managing the infrastructure of modern life on slashed budgets and still get […]

Testing (and tracing) is not just for schools

Jane Thomas
adorable blur bookcase books

It may only be August, but as far as Covid-19 is concerned, it’s now all about autumn and winter. In particular, what is concerning for children, parents, educators and employers is how prepared the country is to reopen schools and what impact this will have on the pandemic. Will it be safe enough for our […]

Labour warns of “jobs bonfire”

Anthony Robinson

Labour’s shadow business and consumer minister has slammed the government for costing small businesses millions of pounds in wasted preparations after they were given just 24 hours’ notice to scrap a planned reopening. Lucy Powell set out yesterday how bowling alleys, casinos and beauty salons across the country had all spent time and money preparing to […]

Multigenerational is the new black

Javed Bashir

First, it was minority ethnics, then Blacks Live Matter and now Asians – the popular trope doing the rounds for why the North is being locked down is now multigenerational households. Yes, multigenerational is the new black. Craig Whitaker, Conservative MP for Calder Valley, gave an interview on LBC radio with Ian Payne on 31 […]

Coronavirus rapid inquiry takes evidence from experts and the public

Juliet Lodge

Is it too kind to describe the government’s handling of the covid crisis as a dog’s dinner? It’s certainly a mess for all manner of reasons: incompetence, over-centralisation, fragmentation of procurement, ignoring public health experts and labs, chaotic and ad hoc reactions, inefficiency, dogma, spin and outsourcing testing to a myriad of private companies. On […]

Walls come tumbling down

Jane Thomas

Last week I visited Keighley – my first foray into the non-Sheffield outside world since lockdown restrictions were lifted. The last time I visited was on the eve of polling day in the 2019 general election to help the sitting Labour MP John Grogan. Professional to a tee, John was maintaining an air of quiet […]

Yeh but, no but let’s be absolutely clear about quarantine

Juliet Lodge
stressed black male entrepreneur working on laptop in park

You know something’s rotten in the state of Denmark when a Lord gets the same money for ‘signing in’ once, as a single person gets in a month on universal credit. In four days, not counting their Lordships’ allowances, their sign-in takes nearly £1m from the public purse, which is filled by anyone paying tax. […]

Public health begins at home

George Baker

How often have you left a public loo and thought, “Yuk! That person didn’t wash their hands after using the loo and is now touching their burger”, or worse, picking up food and handing it to children?  And then there are the adults and kids who wipe their noses on their bare hands, touch the […]

Masking the communication

Daphne Franks
crop man putting medical mask on face of ethnic child

When I explain that my job is teaching student doctors and other healthcare professionals to learn how to communicate with patients, there’s one response I often receive: “But surely that’s just common sense?” Frequently, and without awareness of any apparent contradiction, they immediately follow up the “common sense” remark with an anecdote about when some […]

Select committee criticises coronavirus failures in social care

Dr Stella Perrott
health workers wearing face mask

The government’s “slow, inconsistent and negligent approach” to social care during the pandemic was today (29 July) heavily criticised by the commons public accounts committee. The committee is a cross party group with a government majority of members. The report, Readying the NHS and social care for the COVID-19 peak, notes that the NHS managed […]

Covid-19: early reopening worse than lockdown

Amanda Robinson
bank notes bills cash commerce

It is clear that the government’s preparations for a pandemic were lacking, despite Exercise Cygnus in 2016 which reviewed the UK’s preparedness by simulating a flu outbreak and contained 26 recommendations. It is alleged that the Cygnus report was buried “for fear workers would be alerted to the immense dangers posed by a pandemic”. The […]

Experts deny coronavirus will be ‘over by Christmas’

Helen Davidson
syringe and pills on blue background

While the country was preoccupied with the imminent release of the Russia report, the commons health and social care committee was hearing expert evidence on the management of Covid-19 and what further steps were needed to prepare for the winter. Interestingly, they didn’t recommend bringing in the army to tackle the civil unrest following the […]

National Audit Office to investigate £15bn spend on PPE

Anthony Robinson

There is a growing sense of disbelief at the revelation by Chancellor Rishi Sunak last week that the government has approved £15bn in 2020 for PPE to protect frontline staff during the coronavirus pandemic. Nobody begrudges health workers being provided with the right PPE to keep them and the patients they are treating safe of […]

Leicester lockdown: government information inadequate and misleading

Helen Davidson

While the rest of the country enjoyed the easing of lockdown across England on 4 July, Leicester remained closed following an announcement by the secretary of state for health, Matt Hancock on 27 June. This followed a reported upsurge of cases with 658 being recorded in the week beginning 16 June, 10 per cent of […]

Collateral damage: the plight of the excluded

Anthea Simmons

“You have not been forgotten. We will not leave you behind. We are all in this together.” So tweeted Rishi Sunak, chancellor of the exchequer at 17:56 on 26 May. Sounds nice, huh? What a shame that it isn’t true. Some 3 million taxpayers, at a cautious estimate, feel utterly forgotten, completely left behind and […]

PPE procurement: the government responds to legal action

Anthony Robinson
woman in yellow protective suit wearing white face mask

The government has hit back against Jolyon Maugham’s pre-action protocol letters issued in June against Health Secretary Matt Hancock concerning multi-million pound contracts for personal protective equipment (PPE) awarded to Pest Fix Ltd of Littlehampton and Clandeboye Agencies Ltd, a chocolate wholesaler in Antrim. Maugham challenged their lawfulness on the grounds that there was no […]

EU covid response: solidarity in action

Juliet Lodge

Can the UK afford to ignore what the EU is doing on Covid-19? Or will it gradually try to join in with its ambitious plans for the future? Opening pubs at 6am was another U-turn for the government. But it didn’t deflect attention from it casually letting drop that the UK would participate in EU […]

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