Covid-19 Archive

Podcast script - Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Listen to this Podcast

Good Morning Chelveston, Caldecott and Chelston Rise it’s Wednesday 3rd June and this is Adrian Dale with the daily podcast.

I was very critical of the Government’s approach again in yesterday’s podcast, which I know isn’t to everyone’s taste. But as I have said before, my reason for sharing these thoughts is definitely not political. I want the people of this Parish to be aware that, for all their protestations, many of the Government’s decisions are not being science led. Or if they are, they are based on a poor understanding of the science and the evidence. We need to base our own decisions on respect for our own safety and those around us.

The lock down was first eased on 10th May after a tweak to the Government’s original strategy that gave sufficient “wiggle room” to allow us to travel long distances. It was a crazy decision which has led directly to the madness on the beaches last weekend. This epidemic was originally caused by people travelling long distances and spreading the virus around. It would have been much more sensible to restrict people to a 50 mile radius in a large scale “social bubble” approach. There is no simply justification for people travelling hundreds of miles for a day out on the beach.

The second lockdown release (supposedly on Monday) was a decision taken on even shakier ground. This was supposed to happen when we reached alert level three. However, the papers yesterday revealed that there had been a fundamental disagreement between Chris Witty and the Prime Minister. The PM wanted to drop the virus threat level to 3. Chris Witty refused, the data simply would not support this. They eventually agreed a fudge where the PM said “now that we are moving towards level 3”.

We will face similar fudges with the quarantine rules which are supposed to come into force next Monday. We have already seen exemptions granted for elite sports people and teams. Now the travel industry is lobbying hard to lift the quarantine regulations before they even get going.

Actually, I have some sympathy, as the current UK quarantine rules are unworkable, and are at odds with some other countries. Austria for example, is happy to waive quarantine if you can produce a Covid-19 test certificate less than 4 days old. You can even pay for a test at the airport and wait for the result. Iceland is taking the same approach. Greece has said that all arrivals will be tested at the airport. But even negative results will be required to quarantine for 7 days. Spain will be lifting their quarantine regulations to welcome travellers but have notably said that travellers from the UK are not welcome given the current state of our epidemic. That is telling indeed.

Do you notice the common link here? No country wants to import cases of the virus. That makes absolute sense. However, some of the enlightened countries have recognised that testing is the key. We are back to the Covid-19 passport I talked about a couple of weeks ago.

I don’t understand why the Government hasn’t taken the same stance. They could have said that you can’t board an outbound flight without a negative Covid-19 test in the last 72 hours, and you can’t return to the UK without a negative test at the airport. Of course, this would be a huge inconvenience for the traveller, but far better than the present alternative. Under the current rules, a potential Covid-19 traveller will be free to disembark, sometimes on a crowded bus, collect their luggage, and then use any form of transport to travel to their “quarantine” destination. On the way, they won’t even have to wear masks.

If you remember, the whole epidemic was imported to the UK by a couple of people coming from Wuhan in January and then by skiers coming back from Italy in the February half-term. I don’t want infected people travelling the length of the UK to get to their notified quarantine destination. It is then equally daft that the police should be tied up doing spot checks of these people.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Universal and regular testing is the key to unlocking the country.

I was talking to a neighbour yesterday. His mother lives in a care complex. All of the residents and staff have now been tested for Covid-19. Her test has come back negative. Can you imagine her relief and that of her son? His understanding is that the care staff are being more regularly tested. This is months overdue, of course, but allows the management to put a ring of steel around the complex.

My god daughter works at Brockfield House in Stanwick, a care home for people living with dementia. They suffered 4 deaths when a resident was sent back from Kettering General with Covid-19. They had previously been clear. They now have ring of steel around the home. Nobody and nothing can go into the home unless they are quarantined or washed at high temperature. For the avoidance of doubt, they don’t wash people at high temperature!. Wendy has knitted some of her amazing twiddle mitts for the home. They are currently sealed in a bag for week before I can take them up there.

Both of these care settings are now taking full responsibility for their residents, irrespective of Government guidelines. I applaud them. In the Church and the Village Hall settings, we will be doing the same. We will exceed all the safety recommendations, but will still advise people to assess their own risks and to stay away if they are vulnerable.

I talked on Monday about the fractious day we’d had back in late April on the WhatsApp group. I’d said it was all part of the “storming” phase of the group. Well I was amazed to see a huge row brewing yesterday – amazingly it all about Elliot’s fantastic costume. Or to be more accurate about a risqué description of it. Elliot has been entertaining us over the last few weeks and if you’ve missed his latest costume, I’ll put a picture in the newsletter.

The danger of social media is that the written word can only convey a small fraction of the intent of any message. That’s why emoticons are now being used so much. But all this social media stuff is much too nuanced for a simple chap like me. I just say what I think.

When this emergency is over, I’ll be delighted to crawl back into the bat cave and tinker with the lawn mowers. To be fair they do have their moments too, twice in the last two days in fact. An exploding bearing and a shredded timing belt. Both caused the blades to clash, making a huge racket. Clearly I have offended them too, must be something I said without realising it.

Well there is still no peace for the wicked and so I’d better get back to repairs and try to rebuild my relationship with two demanding lawn mowers.

Speak to you tomorrow.