Category: Coronavirus

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Local lockdowns signal further government chaos

Jane Thomas

As Leicester goes into lockdown, it’s a reminder of what a big week this is for Boris Johnson, culminating in so-called ‘super Saturday’ on 4 July when pubs, hairdressers, cinemas and restaurants reopen. It will come at the end of a week that will have seen summer holidays given the green light, after the government […]

Why we need a coronavirus public inquiry

Helen Davidson

An excess death toll of 66,000 is, of itself, sufficient reason to reflect on how the pandemic has been managed. The government says it will reflect but not yet and has made no commitment to how that reflection will happen. In the absence of any government commitment to an open, wide-ranging review, groups of scientists, […]

Johnson begs public to set an example for Cummings

Anthony Robinson

In what can only be described as a bizarre reversal of leadership, Boris Johnson this week essentially called on the British people to set an example to his most senior adviser Dominic Cummings on how to properly observe government guidance. He told reporters that it was crucial we “get this right” and appealed to the […]

Asylum seekers struggling with lockdown

Dr Stella Perrott

The impact of coronavirus on people in the UK has been very uneven. We know that men, people who are black, Asian or minority ethnic, and those with underlying health problems or who are older, are at risk of severe illness and death. People living in the most deprived communities have been hit hardest. The […]

New travel quarantine rules too late for UK

Jane Dawson

Home Secretary Priti Patel, this week confirmed that almost all arrivals to the UK will be expected to isolate for 14 days. Three months into the lockdown, introducing a quarantine period now is too late. Back in March when the prospect of a UK lockdown still seemed the stuff of fiction, I was working in […]

Difficult conversations to have while we still can

Julie Barnes

“Whatever you want to do, do it now. There are only so many tomorrows.” Michael Landon At the start of lockdown, Robert Peston, TV journalist, wrote an article reminding us that in these strange times of the coronavirus, we are being confronted with questions that we rarely want to face. How do we want to die […]

Hancock hauled over the coals by UK Statistics Authority

Anthony Robinson

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has been rapped over the knuckles by Sir David Norgrove, chair of the UK Statistics Authority for providing figures on coronavirus testing that “are still far from complete and comprehensible.” In a letter dated 2 June, Sir David said the purpose of providing statistic was firstly to help understand the pandemic […]

This is no way to run a pandemic never mind a county

Jane Thomas

Government initiatives over the last seven days have been rather like the 82 bus – none for ages and then more than you can wave a stick at. Schools reopened. Outdoor retail such as markets and car showrooms in England allowed to open. Restrictions adjusted for those currently shielding. And people can now meet in […]

Brexit will take us from coronavirus to omnicrisis

Anthony Robinson

Coronavirus is first and foremost a health crisis but it will soon become an economic one – with the cost of Brexit about to be added. The Social Market Foundation (SMF), an independent think tank, yesterday launched a report that lays out the devastating impact of wilfully boosting a natural crisis with a man-made one. […]

Government announces (EU) funding for high street businesses

Jane Thomas

With the wealth of government initiatives in the last seven days, one can be forgiven for missing the announcement by High Streets Minister Simon Clarke of a £50 million pound fund to help kick-start high street businesses and other public spaces, such as beach fronts and promenades. The announcement was made on 24 May, with […]

What is wrong with this country?

Hecate

Something is rotten to the core when others no longer call the UK ‘plague island’ in jest, but take steps to shield their own countries from UK holiday makers: Greece was first, and Spain looks set to follow. You’d have thought that anyone would pause, look at what successful countries are doing and follow their […]

The legend that is Van-Tam

Louise Houghton

The daily coronavirus briefing has morphed into a propaganda show, with the government now using every opportunity to trail a good news story to distract us from the reality of their incompetence. Saturday night’s show was no exception and the culture secretary Oliver Dowden warmed our hearts by announcing that a third of all remaining […]

What the Premier League restart means for Yorkshire’s clubs

Sam Slater

And so it was announced that on 17 June football is coming home. Premier League football that is. Tentative steps taken to allow players to return to training last week, with club-wide testing in place, has allowed the next and biggest step of Project Restart to be taken. The news will come as welcome relief […]

Test and trace is another programme designed to fail

Helen Davidson

On 25 May Yorkshire Bylines published a piece on the government’s laissez faire approach to handling the crisis and its unwillingness to take decisive action until forced to do so. This followed a report in the Sunday Times about the government’s dithering over whether or not to implement a UK-wide lockdown. The paper estimated that […]

Yorkshire needs its own plan for Covid wave 2

Juliet Lodge

There’s so much we do not know about the response to Covid nationally and in Yorkshire itself. According to the FT, the UK’s excess death rate (no paywall) now tops the world, with over 59k more deaths than usual recorded since the week ending 20 March. Despite this, and despite the lack of effective testing […]

The cost of dither and delay

Helen Davidson

On 23 May Jonathan Calvert, George Arbuthot, Jonathan Leake and Dipesh Gadher published an indictment of the government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis. The Sunday Times report examines the government decision-making process in the crucial three weeks from 2–23 March as the number of cases in the UK rose from 14,000 to 1.5m. The report […]

Kuenssberg’s impartiality under fire

Anthony Robinson

The revelations yesterday about Dominic Cummings’ apparent breach of the lockdown rules, travelling 250 miles to his parents’ home in County Durham while experiencing the symptoms of coronavirus, has sparked a flurry of activity on Twitter about the impartiality of the BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg. She has long been seen by some as too […]

Worrying Covid-19 statistics for Yorkshire and North East

Grace Pritchard

Yorkshire and North East have highest rate of transmission of Covid-19 The total number of Covid-19 deaths in the UK currently stands at nearly 36,000; it is speculated that the real figure, accounting for Covid-19 deaths in care homes, may be much higher. Nick Stripe, the head of the health and analysis and life events […]

An exhausted government, an exhausted civil service

Dr Stella Perrott

As the government lumbers heavily towards its third ‘no-deal’ Brexit deadline, it has strongly asserted that there will be no extension to the transition period. Stella Perrott considers the government’s capacity to deliver a managed Brexit over the coming weeks in the light of the findings of the recent publication of the Institute for Government […]

Foodbanks in survival mode as Covid-19 causes spike in demand.

Jimmy Andrex

“A perfect storm.” That’s how Laura Chalmers, Yorkshire regional director of the Trussell Trust, who run 29 foodbanks in the county, describes the situation in Yorkshire.  According to a study carried out on the 28 March by the Food Foundation, 12 per cent of people nationally are feeding families by breaking the lockdown to go […]

Coronavirus and Kawasaki disease

Grace Pritchard

A toddler from West Yorkshire was left in intensive after being diagnosed with Kawasaki disease. This followed her apparent recent recovery from Covid-19, which she contracted five weeks ago. Scarlett Roberts, from Wakefield, was admitted to Pinderfields hospital with a high temperature and nausea and then transferred to an intensive care unit at Leeds Children’s […]

The Telegraph confirms Yorkshire Bylines story

Anthony Robinson

Ten days after Yorkshire Bylines published a story concerning the flawed computer code used by professor Neil Ferguson at Imperial College to model behavioural strategies for Covid-19, the Telegraph have written their own report: Modelling behind lockdown was an unreliable buggy mess, claim experts – essentially confirming the details. The Telegraph provides more expert evidence […]

Government U-turn in track and trace fiasco?

Juliet Lodge

The government seems yet again caught in trying to find its own makeshift solution for controlling the coronavirus pandemic. After abandoning the initial herd immunity strategy in favour of the World Health Organisation approach of test, trace and isolate that has seen much lower mortality wherever it was adopted, UK authorities seem on the brink […]

Our Plan to Fail: the UK Government’s Covid-19 relapse strategy

Helen Davidson

The government’s announcement of the publication of its 60-page strategy, Our Plan to Rebuild, for reopening the country, quickly turned a sensible and pragmatic approach to easing lockdown into an unnecessary scramble to rescue the government from another mess of its own making. Helen Davidson discusses how the indecent haste to implement the strategy coupled […]

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