Boris Johnson has suggested that people might be well-advised to avoid their place of work, their local pub, and travel in his latest bid to stop the spread of coronavirus:
- He has suggested – not ordered – that everyone should avoid public gatherings and places like pubs, clubs and theatres.
That’s fine if the pub has insurance to cover an interruption of business – and if the insurance company pays out. Johnson has only advised people to stay away, and interruption of business insurance is specifically to cover losses suffered by a business after a disaster. Considering the number of pubs that may have such insurance, and therefore the likely number of claims, it seems likely that the insurance companies might themselves go bankrupt if they pay out.
… That’s unless they have insurance too.
I don’t think they’ll pay. I think Johnson has deliberately tried to avoid forcing the insurers to take a financial hit by restricting his announcement to advice, and they will take advantage of that, no matter what it does to the economy in the long run.
Personally, I do much of my best work in pubs so this is a bitter blow.
- He wants everyone who can work from home to do so.
That won’t go down well with some companies. One newspaper that formerly employed me (which shall remain nameless) refused point-blank to allow home working during normal working hours because the bosses were convinced that I would bunk off and enjoy myself instead.
That decision proved to be catastrophically myopic (although this firm didn’t actually go to the wall, like many others after I left them).
- All “unnecessary” visits to friends and relatives in care homes should cease, he says.
How do you define a “necessary” visit to a friend or relative in a care home? I’m assuming that they’ll just close their doors to visitors.
- People should only use the NHS “where we really need to” – and can reduce the burden on workers by getting advice on the NHS website where possible, he says.
This is transparent enough; he knows he and his party have ruined the National Health Service to the point where it cannot cope with a pandemic.
So he is loading the burden onto the general public to decide when they are sick enough to need professional treatment. I predict that people who aren’t really ill will clog up the hospitals while the genuinely sick will stay away – possibly until they are beyond help.
- Schools will not be closed for the moment.
Why not? School pupils are among the most prolific transmitters of illnesses we know.
And what will happen if parents take the decision to keep their kids away? Will they face punishment?
Once again we say a weak figurehead – and a poor excuse for a leader – making confusing and contradictory pronouncements in a bid to look decisive. At what cost to the rest of us in the future?
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