Category Archives: restrictions

Will Tories rebel against extension of English lockdown to July 19?

Staying closed: many businesses may be forced to remain closed for a further four weeks – unless Tory backbenchers ruin Boris Johnson’s plans. But will he welcome that?

Well, there it is.

Boris Johnson is expected to announce an extension to the English lockdown, meaning most remaining restrictions won’t be lifted until July 19.

There are good grounds to do so:

Many scientists have called for the reopening to be delayed to enable more people to be vaccinated and receive second doses, amid rising cases of the Delta variant.

A delay would also allow more work to be done on whether vaccines are breaking, or simply weakening, the link between infections and hospitalisations.

But it is possible that the plan will face resistance – from Conservative backbenchers who are sick of the demand that we all wear masks when we go out, observe social distancing and keep some businesses closed, harming the economy.

On the last point, the BBC provides these examples:

If the lifting of restrictions is pushed back, the UK Weddings Taskforce – an industry group – estimates that 50,000 weddings planned in the four weeks from 21 June could be cancelled, with the industry losing £325m for every week of delay.

UKHospitality, which represents pubs, bars and restaurants, said businesses faced losing £3bn in sales if the relaxation of restrictions is delayed by a month.

The Night Time Industries Association said businesses such as nightclubs had already spent millions preparing to reopen, and the association will legally challenge any delay to reopening.

But the BBC also reports that projections based on the current trend show that if the current rate of increase continues, there could be 15,000 new cases per day – at least – by June 21. That’s double the number on June 13.

Ignoring that could be a public relations disaster for Johnson, who has been vilified as a dimwit for failing to acknowledge the warnings and delaying previous lockdowns, thereby assuring the deaths of thousands of people who might otherwise have avoided infection.

Still, collective responsibility for such recklessness is better for Johnson than having the blame piled on his shoulders alone, so he may welcome a vote that defeats his extension plan.

After all, how many of you will remember if your MP votes to end lockdown too soon? How many of you will even check what your MP does?

Source: Covid: Lockdown easing in England to be delayed by four weeks – BBC News

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Tories are preparing to delay lockdown end date after Covid infections skyrocketed

Jabber Johnson: Boris Johnson has invested everything in the efficacy of the Covid-19 vaccinations – but a quarter of new infections are in people who have had both injections.

The weekend turned out to be a disaster for the Tories, after all their crowing about getting Covid infections and deaths down.

On Bank Holiday Monday the government recorded no Covid-19 deaths for the first time in more than a year – but the euphoria over that was short-lived.

It was a statistical blip caused by the fact that the people who record deaths had been on holiday.

Since then, with the arrival of the Indian delta variant in the UK due to Boris Johnson’s ridiculous insistence on keeping our borders open to anybody with the virus, infection rates have skyrocketed – on Saturday, 70 per cent more people were recorded to have contracted it than the previous Saturday.

The disease is being transmitted most commonly through secondary schools after Johnson said pupils there should take off their masks.

And now we discover that one in 25 people who have been infected with the new strain are supposed to be fully inoculated against it, having had both the required vaccination injections:

What a homicidal idiot Johnson is!

So now the Tories are having to backtrack on their plan to finish lifting lockdown restrictions on June 21:

Matt Hancock says 21 June is a “not before” date for ending England’s remaining restrictions.

They are going to extend the agony for all of us – and, incidentally, harm the economy that has been their “sacred cow” throughout the crisis, because they keep making the same damned stupid mistakes.

And they’re stupid enough to think that we haven’t noticed.

Are they right, though?

I fear they may be.

After all, they’re only in power because people were stupid enough to believe the Tories’ claims that Jeremy Corbyn would be worse. And now we know he couldn’t possibly have been.

Source: Covid-19: Government ‘open’ to delaying 21 June England lockdown end date – BBC News

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Another Covid lockdown unlikely, says scientist who broke lockdown for nookie anyway

Neil Ferguson: he broke the rules so he quit. If only some Tories had the same integrity after the event.

Isn’t it time the BBC started actually questioning what people say to its reporters, rather than just acting as stenographers?

I mean, here’s a report in which

It is unlikely that there will be more lockdowns in the UK, the scientist whose modelling led to the first nationwide restrictions has said.

Prof Neil Ferguson told the BBC the UK is “likely to be on a steady course now out of this pandemic”.

But I can’t help reminding myself that Professor Ferguson is not only the scientist whose modelling led to lockdowns but also the scientist who resigned after he was caught breaking his own lockdown rules…

… to be with a lady.

So when he says he doesn’t think there will be any more full lockdowns – while I hope that he’s right…

I can’t help questioning whether he has an ulterior motive.

Source: Another Covid lockdown unlikely, says scientist – BBC News

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Newspaper promotes Covidiocy by claiming the UK has reached ‘herd immunity’ threshold

Still here: we may get yet another wave of Covid-19 infections because so-called ‘Covidiots’ use the lifting of some lockdown restrictions as an excuse to ignore ALL of them.

The Daily Telegraph has given everybody in the UK who doesn’t like wearing a mask for their safety and that of others an excuse to campaign against it.

“Britain will pass the threshold for herd immunity on Monday, according to dynamic modelling by University College London (UCL), placing more pressure on the Government to move faster in releasing restrictions,” states the Torygraph‘s story before mercifully disappearing behind a paywall.

Herd immunity is the idea that, if enough of the population is given immunity to a disease, then it will cease to be a danger to the population as a whole.

Boris Johnson suggested it as a way of handling Covid-19 back in March 2020 – but he completely misunderstood it, saying he thought the nation should carry on as normal and people develop the immunity by catching the disease. It was only when people started dying in huge numbers that he changed his decision and locked the UK down, fearful of the public reaction if he persisted with his nonsense claims.

In fact, herd immunity relies on vaccination, and it is true that much of the UK has now taken a first injection of a Covid-19 vaccine. This Writer’s understand was that at least 80 per cent needed to have been fully vaccinated before herd immunity could be reached, though – not the 73.4 per cent claimed by the hack rag.

Is it enough to justify the claim? Hell, no!

It’s just an attempt to support the lifting of restrictions in England that is taking place today (April 12).

The idea is to convince us all that, whatever may happen, Boris Johnson and his cronies are right to follow their lockdown-lifting timetable instead of the scientific facts which – as we have already heard – suggest that another wave of Covid infections could soon hit the UK.

In England, the new rules mean:

More businesses will open, but indoor settings should be visited alone, or with household groups. Outside, six people or two households can meet.

  • All shops allowed to open
  • Hairdressers, beauty salons and other close-contact services can open
  • Restaurants and pubs allowed to serve food and alcohol to customers sitting outdoors
  • Gyms and spas can reopen, as can zoos, theme parks, libraries and community centres
  • Members of the same household can take a holiday in England in self-contained accommodation
  • Weddings attended by up to 15 people can take place
  • Funerals be attended by up to 30 people, with 15 at wakes
  • Children will be able to attend any indoor children’s activity
  • Care home visitors will increase to two per resident

In Wales:

  • All pupils and students return to school, college and other education
  • All shops and close-contact services can open
  • The ban on travelling in and out of Wales ends
  • Driving lessons can resume and some driving tests (remainder on 22 April)

In Scotland:

  • All pupils back at school full-time

And in Northern Ireland:

  • Remaining school year groups 8-11 return (Years 1-3, 4-7 and 12-14 have already returned)
  • Stay-at-home message relaxed
  • All other non-essential retail can operate click-and-collect
  • Sports training with up to 15 people can resume
  • Up to 10 people from two households can meet in a private garden

None of the new conditions allow us to take off our masks in public yet.

However, some people have chosen to use the Torygraph article as an excuse for stupidity, under the hashtag #herdimmunityday:

“Something is dark in your heart”? That’s a really insidious thing to say – accusing people who follow the rules of an inner evil. Isn’t it?

There are hundreds of similar messages.

Fortunately, there is also a backlash from people who want us all to #staysafe until the crisis really is over:

The worst part of this is that there will come a time when vaccination really will have done its work and herd immunity – as correctly defined – will have been reached. And that’s when these morons will come out again and claim that they were right all along.

In the meantime, though, let’s remember that some of these people have been claiming that the government will find any excuse to impose new lockdowns, keep us in our homes and wearing masks – because that keeps us under control.

It seems odd that they also seem hell-bent on providing the government with the excuse it needs.

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Covid-19: clinically vulnerable people won’t be required to shield… from April Fools’ Day

Covid-19: hospitalisations are down, so clinically-vulnerable people are being told they won’t have to shield from April 1. Is this so they can, finally, contract it?

Presumably someone at the Department of Health and Social Care is having a little giggle.

With the health service allegedly gearing up to face a new surge of Covid-19 infections, people who are likely to be extremely vulnerable to it are being told they don’t have to ‘shield’ from April 1.

This means clinically vulnerable people won’t have to stay at home and avoid all contact with other people any more.

In fairness, they are still being advised to keep social contacts at low levels, work from home where possible and stay at a distance from other people.

This Writer’s own family members in Bristol have been shielding, and I would advise them to continue doing so, as much as possible – for a very simple reason.

They were told to shield at a time when hospitals were in danger of being overwhelmed by Covid-19 admissions; the concern at the time was for the health service, rather than for people who were clinically vulnerable.

Now, hospital admissions are falling as the number of Covid-19 cases drops.

So shielding is ending, not because vulnerable people are now safe, but because hospitals will be better-able to cope with them.

And we should take note that the official advice is that shielding is being “paused” – not ended. It may be reintroduced. If so, then clinically vulnerable people should not be encouraged to think they are safe.

Yes, people who have been shielding have had priority access to vaccination, but that just means they are more likely to have had their first injection.

They won’t be fully-immunised until after they’ve had their second jab – and it has been suggested that the longer delay between injections has created a vulnerability to variant strains of Covid-19.

And the government is warning that people coming out to enjoy the current hot weather have not been social distancing, meaning they are more likely to contract the virus. The same government is inviting clinically vulnerable people to mix in with those people.

So This Writer is led to question the purpose behind this change.

Is it really to give people who have been stuck at home for more than a year a chance to stretch their legs again?

Or is it to give the virus a chance to wipe out a few more “useless eaters”?

Wednesday is the last day millions of the most clinically vulnerable people in England and Wales are told to shield.

Source: Covid-19: Shielding coming to an end for millions – BBC News

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Schoolkids know the score: reopening all schools in England will infect the nation with Covid-19

“Perfectly safe”: this photo was taken on a school staircase after Boris Johnson ruled that it was “perfectly safe” for children to go back there in September – no social distancing, no PPE… not safe at all. Now he is planning to do it all again, with infection rates nearly seven times higher than when this image was made.

Boris Johnson loves announcing big plans without giving us the facts and figures behind them, and he has done it again with school reopening.

How humiliating for him that it has been up to school pupil Jamal Elaheebocus to explain that when schools were recklessly reopened in June last year, one in 1,100 people were infected with Covid-19. When they were recklessly reopened in September, this had fallen to one in 2,000.

In mid-February, the infection rate was one in 115 people. It is hoped this will have fallen to one in 300 but that is nearly seven times more than in September last year – and look how that turned out!

Jamal reminds us of a few more uncomfortable truths:

the prevalence of the virus in communities remains high. As Johnson himself admitted on January 4, schools are vectors of transmission.

To any of us working or studying in schools, the reasons why schools are hotspots for infection are obvious.

Fitting thirty students and a teacher in a classroom makes social distancing impossible, overcrowded buildings means that several year groups who are separate bubbles then mix together.

Students are then packed on buses and trains to get home, spreading infection not only among themselves but among the wider public as well.

The latest data from Imperial’s React programme showed that 5 to 12 year olds had the second highest infection rate of any age group. Given this, there is no doubt that schools will increase the infection rate again. The difference this time is that infection rates will be much higher.

While the vaccine may help limit the rise in infection to an extent, infection rates will undoubtedly increase. This is a reckless gamble just to get children into schools for three weeks before Easter holidays.

Yes.

So why is Johnson doing it?

This was inevitable, thanks to the pressure from the mainstream media and Keir Starmer.

How low Labour has sunk! Its leader is now counted among those responsible for inflicting an inevitable increase in Covid-19 infections on the UK – yet again. People will die because Starmer did this.

Yes, some of the arguments in favour of re-opening schools have influence – but only because prolonged closures have placed pupils at the mercy of the Tories’ neoliberal system – one that Starmer wholeheartedly supports.

The combined incompetence of the government and the cruelty of the neoliberal system has meant many kids have missed out on free school meals, families are struggling to cope in overcrowded homes and kids have not been able to access online learning because of lack of access to a laptop or good broadband.

Lockdown has been made so difficult for school pupils because of the government’s decision to continue to punish the poorest in society. It is a disgrace that the Tories and the right-wing media are attempting to manipulate the stress and hardship and use it to back up their reckless campaign to open up society and let the virus run rampage.

It is a disgrace.

And the Tories’ adherence to the neoliberal system that demands minimal investment for maximum return (to the very, very rich) means that the reopening will be done on the cheap.

Jamal proposes a series of measures to make schools safe – or at least safer. None of them have been supported – or even mentioned – by Boris Johnson because they cost money.

Teachers should be prioritised for the vaccine since they will be mixing with such a large number of people. This should have been done months ago and as more and more of the clinically vulnerable and elderly are vaccinated, there is no reason not to now prioritise teachers.

There should also be plans to repurpose public buildings as classrooms or put money into new buildings on school sites to facilitate social distancing in classrooms and allow for proper separation of year group bubbles.

Supply teachers and newly-qualified teachers who are not employed can be utilised to allow for smaller class sizes and more social distancing.

The vaccine is not the cure-all that Johnson and his cronies have claimed. It wont protect you as fully as you think, and it won’t protect as many people as you think.

And, of course, it has only been applied to a minority of the population – on a first-dose basis.

How sad that Johnson is so keen to prolong the UK’s Covid-19 agony, just to please his backbenchers, the baying hounds of the mass media… and Keir Starmer.

Source: A school student speaks: 8 March ‘big bang’ reopening just isn’t safe – Counterfire

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Boris Johnson’s ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown ignores the science YET AGAIN and the death toll could be huge

Mess: Johnson’s plan to ease lockdown is as muddled as his hair. Even with 80 per cent vaccine efficacy, half the population will still be vulnerable to infection.

Scientists have warned that Boris Johnson’s plan to end lockdown restrictions will cause a huge increase in Covid-19 hospitalisations – even in the most optimistic scenarios.

So much for “following the science”, eh?

It seems that

The government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) [said] tens of thousands more people can be expected to die from Covid because vaccines will not provide complete protection against the disease, and not everyone will have the jabs.

All scenarios led to a resurgence of cases because so many vulnerable people remained unprotected, even with high vaccine coverage.

Johnson’s plan is a bespoke model that does not correspond with any of the SAGE scenarios – but its closest equivalent, scenario three, predicts a resurgence of Covid-19 in the UK around September.

At yesterday’s press briefing on the government’s plans, chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance, who is said to have shares in a pharmaceutical company that was working on a vaccine, warned that even with 80 per cent efficacy, half the population would still be at risk from the disease.

He said a cautious step-by-step process, with pauses of four or five weeks between each to monitor the impact, was the right way to go.

It seems strange, then, that the Johnson plan will reopen all English schools on March 8.

Scientific modellers predict that this will drive the infection rate up by between 10 and 50 per cent – negating the reductions of the current lockdown and vaccinations.

They said a limited reopening, possibly starting with primary schools, was a far better option and would allow scientists to assess the impact on infections within the community.

Johnson has ignored this good advice and intends to steamroll his easements through – as he did last year.

We all know how that turned out. Why are you letting him do it to you again?

Source: Demand from Tory MPs to scrap Covid rules ‘could bring huge death toll’ | Politics | The Guardian

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Starmer’s attitude to schools reminds us his only purpose is to block opposition to the Tories

Suck up: Johnson can keep smiling because he’s got little blue boy Keir Starmer backing him from the Labour Parliamentary benches.

Many may consider that Keir Starmer is a traitor to the people of the UK after his latest display of support for the government he is supposed to oppose.

Starmer has stated – publicly, for all to hear – that he supports Boris Johnson’s decision to reopen all English schools and damn the science.

That means he has set himself against the education-based organisations that have called for a phased reopening of schools – and only if it is supported by scientific evidence.

He thinks he knows better than the experts.

He said he did not support mooted industrial action over safety concerns, after nine teaching unions warned it would be “reckless” to open schools at all once on 8 March.

Sir Keir expressed concerns that children were falling behind, having previously urged the government to open schools as quickly as possible.

Asked whether teachers could be drafted in during the summer to help children catch up, he said: “That may be possible.

“Again, schools staff have been working around the clock. Remember, this time last year they were preparing to work through the Easter break and they’ll probably end up doing that again.

“So they do need a break. There needs to be a long-term plan to catch-up because the attainment gap has got bigger over this pandemic – it was bad enough before it.

“We need a long-term plan for catch-up, but we do need to give credit to teachers and school staff. We need to think of how we do catch-up and close the attainment gap.”

Will Starmer be paying school staff for the extra hours they’ll be asked to work? Will he be compensating them for the holiday time they will lose?

Just because schools haven’t been open, that doesn’t mean staff have not been working, remember!

And his determination to ignore warnings by scientists puts him on the same level as Michael Gove, who famously extolled the virtues of ignorance in the run-up to Brexit (and now we can all see how that is turning out).

Starmer is not a Labour politician in any meaningful way.

He is an infiltrator in the Labour Party, along with all those who support him (including paid staff; some of us knew that from the backstabbing that happened during the so-called “anti-Semitism” witch-hunt when Jeremy Corbyn was leader).

His purpose seems clear: to prevent Her Majesty’s Opposition from being run by anybody who might ever oppose the Tories.

And he is succeeding.

Who could possibly support a Labour Party that does nothing but suck up to the worst prime minister, and the worst government, the UK has ever had.

Source: Keir Starmer opposes strike action by teachers and says they may have to work during holidays | The Independent

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Minister for VACCINES in cock-up over vaccination dates while trying to justify reopening schools

Nadhim Zahawi: waving the flag and fuddling the dates.

Should we give Nadhim Zahawi the benefit of the doubt for this faux-pas? No!

If it was an honest mistake, we should remind ourselves that Diane Abbott was given no quarter for making one, even after it was revealed that she had been trying to cope with an illness at the time.

You can still see right-wing commenters on the social media referring to it at periodic intervals, and congratulating themselves on their (small) wit for doing it.

Zahawi appears to have no such excuse for this:

He quite clearly does assert that the Conservative government has calculated that it should be safe to open schools on March 8 because that is three weeks after mid-April, when everybody aged over 50 is expected to have been vaccinated.

Firstly, it is entirely arbitrary to use the vaccination of the over-50s as a trigger for the reopening of schools. Why not over-40s? Over-30s? Or indeed, over-20s? All are just as likely to be affected.

Secondly – and I come to this last because it’s a biggie! – March 8 is not three weeks after mid-April. That would be May 8. March 8 is around five weeks before mid-April.

So by his own calculations, the minister for Covid-19 vaccination is telling is that his government is planning to reopen schools an entire two months prematurely.

I look forward to hearing his justification for the deaths that will be triggered by this wrong-headed decision to open all schools, too early, rather than experiment with a phased reopening, increasing as evidence recommends – as the other countries of the UK are doing.

Although, no doubt, it will be equally incomprehensible.

Boris Johnson may have an opportunity to correct this cock-up when he officially announces his “roadmap out of lockdown” later today (if that is still going ahead).

That’s if our complicit Tory media remember they have a responsibility to grill him about it.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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