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Oliver Dowden: do you believe this face when it tells you it’s safe to go back in a swimming pool with loads of other people who’ve never had a Covid-19 test in their life?

Imagine a plane crash killed 157 people. It would be top of the day’s news. A terrorist incident killing 126 would also be the top headline.

Those were the Covid-19 death figures on Monday and Tuesday, and the media – led by the Tories – tried to make it seem like a cause for celebration!

And now, to top it all off, culture secretary Oliver Dowden has announced the latest plan to increase the death toll: reopening gyms and swimming pools!

It seems they want us all to die.

Dowden said outdoor theatres could reopen immediately, along with recreational sports. Indoor pools, gyms and sports facilities will follow.

Here are the details:

  • Outdoor pools will be able to re-open on 11 July
  • Indoor gyms, swimming pools and sports facilities will then be able to re-open from 25 July
  • Grassroots sport will be able to return from this coming weekend, beginning with cricket (other sports will follow)
  • Outdoor theatres will be able to start up from Saturday
  • Small pilots of indoor performances with socially distanced audiences will also take place to help work out the best way to get them up and running
  • From Monday 13 July, beauticians, tattooists, spas, tanning salons and other close contact services can reopen “subject to some restrictions on particularly high-risk services”

Okay, so how will we be able to avoid catching Covid from other users of these sporting facilities? Dowden said there will be “enhanced cleaning” at gyms and pools.

How the hell is that going to work?

In a place like a swimming pool, where people immerse their entire bodies – including the faces that we’ve all been told not to touch since March – what are they going to do?

And nobody will be asked to wear a face mask in a gym.

So that’s fine. If anybody asymptomatic takes Covid-19 into a gym or pool with them, everybody there is certain to catch it.

Dowden held a press conference, touching on other matters. For example:

He said he was “absolutely confident” Boris Johnson and Gavin Williamson would not have ordered parents to send children back to school unless it was safe to do so. Oh, really?

England suffered a wave of school closures after Johnson and Williamson ordered them to open too soon and outbreaks of Covid happened.

If Dowden was “absolutely confident” Johnson and Williamson’s plan was safe, this does not bode well for his reliability on gyms and swimming pools.

And in response to a question on sanctions for people who flout the rules, he said he was “tremendously heartened” by the “good British common sense” the British public had displayed.

Does he mean the common sense displayed by the public in Soho when the pubs opened on Saturday? Let’s look at a picture of them all keeping two metres away from each other:

Or we could consider what happened at Bournemouth when the sun came out?

Well.

Apparently the police have the power to disperse crowds. Clearly they didn’t exercise it on Saturday.

Perhaps they were too busy stopping and searching 12.5 per cent of London’s black population for no good reason instead…

Dowden also – implausibly – claimed that the government continues to be “informed by science” on the pace at which it is reopening the economy – but we can see that this isn’t true.

Asked about the data the government has seen since pubs and hairdressers re-opened last weekend, he said it was “all continuing to move in the right direction”.

But we won’t know whether those reopenings have led to an increase in Covid infections for another week and a half.

It all adds up to nothing less than sheer foolhardiness from a government that knows it is the people who will suffer for Tory mistakes.

You’d think Boris Johnson would have got the message after a hospital in his own constituency had to close its Accident & Emergency unit, with no fewer than 70 people going into self-isolation.

But no.

He wouldn’t get the message if it was written in fiery letters across the sky and followed him wherever he went.

He’d probably just try to convince us that God was wrong for arguing with him – and then deny it when religious leaders got angry.

Source: Coronavirus updates: Culture secretary gives update on reopening of economy in England – BBC News

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