The sudden "jump" in COVID-19 cases at the weekend to 3,000 a day - the worst figure since May - caused Hancock to reappear in public, earnestly requesting youngsters "not to infect granny". But it seems that those grannies who avoided COVID in the first round, are very likely to get sick in the second round - along with the younger section of the population who now seem to be getting the virus. This week, at least 2 schools in England closed straight after reopening, because of outbreaks among staff and pupils. And new local lock-downs are being declared every day. On Tuesday, new social-mixing restrictions were announced - but only from next Monday!
Of course, with the back-to-work and back-to-school push by ministers and the quarantines slapped on holiday destinations, causing that massive rush back from Mediterranean beaches, this new spike was totally predictable! The civil service union has even threatened a strike because workers are being told to go back to work "or else"!
Ministers say COVID safety measures are all in place, so it's safe. But everyone knows that these measures are contradictory and irrational. In Leicester, where the first local lockdown is being lifted, restaurants, bars and spas will open, but restrictions on gatherings in private homes and gardens will remain in place! Which is scientifically illogical! But for this government, that’s “normal”.
In the end, this latest COVID spike just proves Johnson’s inability to get a handle on anything at all, especially the most basic measure - and the key to controlling a pandemic - effective testing. Yes, the testing regime is falling apart! Slots at drive-in centres are fully booked; you can be told to drive 100+ miles to get a test! Home testing kits run out each day; in August, only 14.5% of tests returned a result within 48 hours.
But workers, students and travellers need repeated tests and their results should be given within at most, 24 hours, so that anyone infectious and their contacts can be isolated. That's the only way to control viral spread.
So why hasn't this happened? Well, the reason is simple: profit. And never mind if there is no public benefit. Today there are at least 125 recognised different privately "owned" tests for sale. The latest, a 20 minute saliva test (it cost £1 and is marketed to the government for £20) is being trialled. "Science" already says it's unlikely to be that accurate. The government has put another £500m into this, among other tests. And like for everything Johnson has and hasn't done, in this pandemic - the question to be asked is: which of his blood-sucking mates is hitting the jackpot this time?
Johnson's brexit bluster.2
No wonder Johnson wants to be seen raising the Brexit stakes! In every other respect he and his "Blue Wall" Tories are looking a little unwell, not least because of the total mess they've made of their Covid policy. Yes, they just can't get anything right!
So allowing the media to speculate on whether there is going to be all-out "war" (of words!) - with the EU over fishing, or the border in the Irish Sea, is a very convenient distraction. And an ideal flag-waving occasion for Johnson, Gove and "Lord" Frost to show their enthusiasm for defending a (dead) British Empire...
Speaking on Radio 4, Environment Secretary, George Eustice even said that the EU is "in denial about what an independent country looks like"... So apparently Brexit Britain is going to provide that lesson to the rest of Europe, because after all, "they need us more than we need them..."Which is not exactly true. Britain sends 43% of its exports to the EU, but relies on the EU for 51% of its imports which are currently tariff-free! Finding alternative export markets among poorer non-EU countries is just not a proposition, especially in today's climate. As for essential EU imports, they'll become much more costly after Brexit - if there's no deal.
However, Eustice and the other Brexit-puppets have obediently explained that yes, 40% tariffs on beef or Welsh lamb exported to the EU were fine! Which is what the famous World Trade Organisation terms in the event of a "no-deal" would result in! British farmers might have a different view...
Behind all this childish nationalist bluster, is of course the need to get a deal - which is what the capitalist class wants, above all. And yes, as even Brexiteers know, it would be ideal if there was a free trade zone with Europe (like before Brexit!), but 2nd best is a "Canada-like" deal. However, it's a bit late to get it, within their current timetable, so it's rather like wishing for the moon.
But their peevishness has consequences for their shrinking economy... On Monday the pound fell by 1% against the US dollar (0.8% against the euro) - pushed down by the Financial Times report that the government intended to amend the Withdrawal Agreement, thus “Breaking international law”... Talks this Wednesday with EU officials coincide with the presentation of this new bill, which will further turn up the heat.
But the Brexit patient is already quite feverish, so Boris and his fellow flag-wavers will have to find a way to cool her down, or risk a sharp slap on the wrist from their capitalist masters... Or worse.