Tag Archives: test

Test and trace doco shows why the Tories STILL want to silence the BBC

The Johnson government will want to give the BBC a kicking for this, but it needed to be said.

Panorama documentary has exposed the facts about the so-called “NHS” test and trace system run by a private company that has failed the nation.

Don’t be wrong-footed by this; the BBC remains fundamentally right-wing in its outlook.

The point of this documentary is that the BBC is showing that the political party it supports can be wrong.

And when it is, it should be seen to be wrong.

The BBC News story about the documentary says it clearly:

An army of more than 20,000 tracers was recruited by England’s test-and-trace service. But from the beginning, there were complaints that some had little or nothing to do.

Panorama spoke to 19 coronavirus tracers who expressed concerns about a … lack of work, or technical problems.

Latest figures show that just over one in five people who have tested positive for coronavirus are not being reached by the system.

The general public has been even more to-the-point:

And finally:

Source: Test and trace: ‘I spoke to one person in four months’ – BBC News

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‘NHS’ contact tracer app DOESN’T come from Serco or harvest data. Johnson’s lies confused us

For once, it seems This Site is having to do a u-turn!

Information has come into my possession – some of it from very rude people on Twitter! – that the new contact-tracing app for smartphones hasn’t been developed by Serco after all.

It has yet to be proved that the incompetent outsourcing giant has nothing at all to do with it – the Department for Health and Social Care has not released the names of every organisation that worked on it.

But the headline, according to Wired, is that

The app has been developed by the NHS and NHSX, the innovation arm of the health service, under the direction of the DHSC. Software firms Zuhlke Engineering and Pivotal have been involved in the development though NHSX has not published a full list of companies who have worked on the app.

This raises an awkward question:

What has Serco been doing that required £12 billion?

As far as privacy is concerned, I misread Jim Killock’s tweets. He was saying that, while the smartphone app keeps your information private in an acceptable way, people who don’t have a smartphone and cannot – or will not – use it are in danger of having their data harvested because of the traditional ways in which it is recorded.

He’s saying you hand your details in to people at the location where your case is handled, with no safeguards or guarantees on it at all.

And he’s saying we have no idea whether privacy issues at Serco have been fixed – or how bad they are.

This Site is happy to apologise for the confusion.

The fact that there was confusion over this simply highlights the incompetence of the Conservative government in hiring untrustworthy private contractors to do a job requiring confidentiality in the first place.

It has created an atmosphere of distrust in which the default position is an expectation of betrayal; I wasn’t the only one who made the mistake.

And the mistake over Serco’s involvement in the smartphone app can be directly traced to our performing monkey prime minister Boris Johnson and his insistence on mislabelling the Serco test and trace fiasco as belonging to the NHS.

Now that there is an NHS app, will he start referring to the Serco shambles by its proper name?

I think not.

So the confusion will continue and it seems people will be put off the UK’s contact tracing schemes as a whole because of it.

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U-turn again, Boris Johnson – every time you do, you lose more credibility

What he thinks we want to hear: Boris Johnson turns with the wind, as this excellent infographic from @dayvidart shows.

The continued support Boris Johnson enjoys from the UK public is becoming a constant surprise – especially as he is now u-turning several times a day.

It seems clear that he and his people are saying whatever they think they can get away with, according to the news agenda of the day – as Ian Dunt points out here:

When lockdown was imposed in March, we all had to work from home if we possibly could.

Then Johnson changed his mind in June and wanted us all to go back to the workplace and catch Covid-19 from our colleagues.

Now it is September and we’re all staying at home again. At this rate, he’ll have us back in the salt mines again around Christmas.

On the subject of staying at home or going somewhere, shall we discuss schools?

Here’s some footage of Johnson at the Commons Liaison Committee, saying that children readily transmit Covid-19 to adults.

But Adam Hamdy is right:

So Johnson – who said, only at the beginning of September, that it was “safe” to go back to school – has now reversed his position entirely. But it’s a bit late now:

In our houses, out of doors, in, out, shake-it-all-about… We wouldn’t need to do any of this if we had a decent Covid-19 test, track and trace system – but we don’t.

Johnson handed the contract for this to a private company – Serco – that has made a complete hash of it.

So he keeps calling it “NHS test-and-trace” instead, in the hope that nobody will remember it’s a privatised cock-up. Fat chance:

When the Department for Health and Social Care launched its contact tracing app (which version of that are we on now? Two or three?) the announcement stated that it would not carry out contact tracing.

Guess what? Another u-turn was on the way!

Here‘s The Independent:

No 10 has been left red-faced after wrongly saying the long-delayed NHS coronavirus app will not carry out contact-tracing – only to be slapped down by health officials.

The technology will finally be launched on Thursday – four months late – but without its original purpose, Downing Street had claimed, sparking fresh criticism.

But, within hours, the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) issued a correction, insisting contact-tracing would be “at the heart of the NHS Covid-19 app”.

The fiasco over the four-month-delayed track-and-trace system led to uncomfortable moments for Johnson in the House of Commons where – as usual – he made a proper fool of himself:

If you’re having problems understanding what’s wrong with his words, see the following:

And here’s another thing: if the UK is such a freedom-loving country and those others aren’t, then why are we having to put up with endless – and constantly-varying – restrictions from Johnson while they are practically back to normal?

This idiot’s words stand on their heads!

For further proof – if you can believe it – Johnson actually said that contact tracing had nothing to do with the resurgence of Covid-19 in the UK:

Needless to say, the satirists have been having a field day:

I’m going to end with one that’s not related to the rest of the story but refers to Johnson’s intention to bring the armed forces onto our streets to enforce his ridiculous new restrictions on our freedoms. The point, I hope, is clear:

The UK may be a freedom-loving nation – but Boris Johnson doesn’t like it at all.

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#CorridorsOfPowder – hypocritical Tories will force big employers to do random drug tests. What about Westminster?

Shaun Bailey: he has already been branded as the Conservative candidate for Islamophobia, sexism and misogyny. Now he’s adding hypocrisy to the list with a plan for drug testing in major firms, but not in Parliament – which is known to have a serious cocaine problem.

It seems Priti Patel has picked up on Tory London Mayor candidate Shaun Bailey’s plan to force firms that employ more than 250 people to subject the workforce to random drug tests.

Her endorsement follows one by Iain Duncan Smith last month.

But how strange that the UK Parliament, where the House of Commons alone employes around 2,040 people – not counting MPs, is to be exempt from any such legislation!

The Conservative government are planning to introduce legislation which would force big employers to carry out random drug tests on their employees – but MPs look set to be exempt from the policy.

Yesterday, the Home Secretary Priti Patel endorsed controversial plans drawn up by the Tory candidate for Mayor of London, Shaun Bailey.

The Tory Mayoral candidate says the policy is designed to reduce ‘middle-class cocaine usage‘ in the capital. However, MPs – who are notorious users of the drug – will be exempt.

Yes indeed. Back in August, This Site pointed out that cocaine use in the House of Commons has become so bad that at one point even the arch-Tory Daily Mail published an article dubbing the Palace of Westminster “corridors of powder”.

Apparently the washrooms of Parliament are… awash with the stuff.

I wonder if this is not a subtle (especially for the Tories) bid to sabotage Bailey’s bid to be Mayor of London.

He has already blotted his copy book in the past and it seems hard to believe this plan will be a vote-winner. People who take the drug won’t support a man who has inflicted random testing on them and those who don’t will hate the fact that the Tories are imposing tests on others but not submitting to the same tests themselves, even though it is well-established that Westminster has a serious nose candy problem.

Perhaps someone thinks it is a way to get rid of him, while still imposing a little extra unnecessary unpleasantness into the lives of ordinary people (most of whom won’t have been anywhere near cocaine).

Source: The Tories are planning to force workers to undergo random drug tests – but MPs will be exempt | Evolve Politics

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Why are asymptomatic #Eton pupils getting #Covid tests that the rest of us can’t have?

Eton: all the pupils have had Covid-19 tests, whether they needed one or not. By sharp contrast, just you try getting one!

It seems the timing of Jacob Rees-Mogg’s comments about “carping” over Covid-19 tests has turned the issue into a farce.

As reported on This Site earlier, complaints have been rising because people have been sent miles – sometimes hundreds of miles – out of their way for tests.

This Site reported a few days ago that the government seems to have ordered some testing centres to shut, even though they still had usable tests.

Meanwhile, Covid-19 infections are soaring across the UK, with nearly 4,000 new cases announced on September 16 and outbreaks in more than 1,000 schools.

In Parliament, Rees-Mogg said:

“The issue of testing is one where we have gone from a disease that nobody knew about a few months ago to one where nearly a quarter of a million people a day can be tested.

“And the prime minister is expecting that to go up to half a million people a day by the end of October.

“And instead of this endless carping saying it’s difficult to get them, we should be celebrating this phenomenal success of the British nation in getting up to a quarter of a million tests for a disease that nobody knew about until earlier in the year.

“That is a success of our scientists or health experts and of our administration.”

This Site stated earlier that apparently the only way to be sure of a test in Rees-Mogg’s Tory UK is to pay for it – or to be a member of Parliament like him.

To that, we can now add that pupils at private schools can also be sure of a test – even if they don’t have any symptoms.

This is embarrassing for Rees-Mogg and the government as they had been “carping” about asymptomatic people clogging up the testing system.

Ordinary people have leapt to point out the obvious inconsistency:

Oleg here has all the discussion we need:

You wrote the book in a single sentence there, Oleg!

People who need Covid tests are being denied them because the children of the rich were given privileged access.

And the government that is presiding over this corruption convinced many of us who are going without that they were the best people for the job.

It’s bad enough that those people lack intelligence; now, thanks to this decision, the Tories are robbing them of their health as well.

Source: Coronavirus: Jacob Rees-Mogg criticises ‘carping’ over tests – BBC News

Worried that you can’t get a #Covid19 test? ‘Stop carping’ says #JacobReesMogg

Rees-Mogg: this Hitlerian image fits well with the comment by Katy, below.

Jacob Rees-Mogg thinks we should “stop carping” about his government’s failure to set up a Covid-19 testing system worthy of even the most technologically-backward banana republic.

Complaints have been rising because people have been sent miles – sometimes hundreds of miles – out of their way for tests. This Site reported a few days ago that the government seems to have ordered some testing centres to shut, even though they still had usable tests.

Apparently the only way to be sure of a test in Rees-Mogg’s Tory UK is to pay for it – or to be a member of Parliament like him.

Meanwhile, Covid-19 infections are soaring across the UK, with nearly 4,000 new cases announced on September 16 and outbreaks in more than 1,000 schools.

And what does he say?

Well, Katy here has something to say about Rees-Mogg:

I think Katy makes a better point than he does.

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Daily #Covid19 infections are now nearly 4,000, with more than 1,000 schools infected. Do you feel safe?

Not the NHS: Boris Johnson privatised the Covid-19 test and trace system, believing it would be a great advert for privatisation. Instead, it has become a millstone around his neck – so he refers to it constantly as “NHS test and trace” in the hope that people will blame the nationalised health service that has nothing to do with it.

The coronavirus has reached a height not seen since May 10, with nearly 4,000 people found to be infected in a single day, while more than 1,000 schools have now suffered outbreaks.

That’s only around 1/33 of the total number of schools – but the total has climbed exponentially. It was 200 schools a fortnight ago, and that was considered too many at the time.

How many schools need to be infected before parents decide enough is enough and take their children out again, for the safety not only of the kids but of themselves as well?

Meanwhile, it seems teachers are considering court action against the government:

The Independent article states that “the general secretary of teaching union NASUWT wrote to Mr Williamson to demand better resourcing and monitoring of Covid-secure measures, after a straw poll of almost 1,000 school teachers found that 55 per cent did not regard the protections in place at their schools as “sufficient and effective”.”

The newspaper said the union may make “a claim for breach of duty of care or personal injury due to foreseeable risks resulting from the government’s decision to tell schools to reopen to all pupils in September.”

And we still don’t know the real extent of the new infections because Boris Johnson’s private contractor, Serco, can’t get enough tests done in time.

He was left humming and hawing in Prime Minister’s Questions after Labour’s Angela Rayner made sure the question of Serco (not NHS) T’n’T (test and trace) blew up in his face.

But it is the general public who’ll be left to pick up the pieces when this is all over.

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Is this the real reason people haven’t been able to get Covid-19 tests?

Rampant: the Covid-19 virus is once again on the loose across the UK because the Tories haven’t just lost control; they’ve deliberately thrown it away.

You must have seen stories lately, saying people wanting Covid-19 tests for themsselves or (more likely) their children have been redirected hundreds of miles because centres have run out.

Well, it seems there may be a reason for that, which is nothing to do with a lack of testing kits.

My suspicions were aroused when I saw this story…

A vulnerable Chesterfield mum has been left ‘stressed and anxious’ after being unable to book a Covid-19 test for her poorly daughter.

Louise Hull-Bailey’s nine-year-old daughter Aimee, a pupil at Brimington Junior School, has been ill for two days and is suffering with a cough and high temperature.

Louise, 37, says no home tests are available and she has been told she cannot book a walk-in slot either.

… within minutes of this story:

There is fury in the Rhondda after it emerged that the testing centre set up in Porth to speed up access to testing in an area on the brink of a local lockdown was only able to offer 60 tests a day.

Council leader Andrew Morgan said he had been told that the UK Government had made a unilateral decision to limit the number of tests because of the shortage across the UK.

He said that the centre itself had the capacity to offer 400 to 500 tests a day but the centre does not process the tests and the UK is facing a shortage of lab capacity to process the results.

You might say what prevails in the Rhondda may not in Chesterfield, but there’s no evidence to suggest it doesn’t. In fact, it seems more likely that this is the situation across the UK:

Centres with the capacity to carry out more tests are being held back by the government.

Lack of capacity?

Tory ministers have been crowing that the UK has more capacity than other countries.

But they are ordering testing centres to turn people away.

But there is a lack of capacity going on.

It’s a lack of mental capacity by government ministers who simply cannot organise a simple testing routine.

Source: Chesterfield mum ‘stranded’ as she can’t get Covid test for sick daughter | Derbyshire Times

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Did Boris Johnson delay social gathering clampdown so that St Leger horse races can take place?

Dido Harding: Corrupt?

Is it really a coincidence that Boris Johnson’s new clampdown on social gatherings involving more than six people is to be imposed on Monday, allowing the St Leger horse racing festival to take place first?

Is it a coincidence that the St Leger is organised by the Jockey Club, which counts among its directors Dido Harding – who also happens to be in charge of the Serco (not NHS) Test and Trace fiasco?

Would it be more accurate to say that Ms Harding’s priority is the racing track, rather than Track and Trace?

People on Twitter certainly have their opinions about this:

While we’re discussing Test/Track/Trace, let’s remind ourselves that UK citizens have been forced to traipse around the country trying to get tests, as the Serco-run system for which Ms Harding is responsible has been unable to provide enough – even though (I hear on PMQs) 75,000 test kits are wasted every day.

Why isn’t Ms Harding doing the rounds of the studios explaining why we should not attribute the delay of the social gathering lockdown to her own corruption?

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Is this plan for daily Covid testing of MPs simply to shore up support for Johnson?

Speaker: Lindsay Hoyle in action.

Why is the Commons Speaker, who is supposed to be neutral, suggesting a plan to re-fill Parliament with braying Boris Johnson loyalists?

Johnson made a fool of himself at Prime Minister’s Questions last week when his pre-scripted attack on Keir Starmer about a spurious connection with terrorism exposed him to ridicule.

Some commentators said Johnson was finding it hard to stand up to Starmer without the support of hundreds of Tory backbenchers behind him, egging him on.

So now Lindsay Hoyle has proposed a plan to pack the screaming mob back in:

MPs could be tested daily for coronavirus to allow them to safely fill the chamber of the House of Commons, the Speaker has suggested.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle told Times Radio he had spoken to the NHS and government about getting “a quick turnaround of tests” to allow more MPs in.

Of course, some of us have been asking why MPs have been saying it is safe for our children to be packed back into schools when they are still working from home because they fear catching the virus so much.

It is possible that a return to full attendance at the House of Commons will encourage some of them to claim that it was a silly criticism.

If so, we’ll have to remind them that the situation isn’t the same – because I don’t see the government authorising daily testing of every school attendee. Do you?

Source: Coronavirus: Test MPs for Covid-19 every day, says Speaker – BBC News

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