Socialist Worker

Doctors protest at Downing Street to demand a strategy to wipe out Covid-19

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2711

Doctors protesting at Downing Street in London on Tuesday

Doctors protesting at Downing Street in London on Tuesday (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Doctors protested outside Downing Street on Tuesday to “highlight the risks of indoor spread”.

The protest, organised by the Doctors in Unite section of the Unite union, came as the Tories prepared to reopen pubs and restaurants.

Dr Jonathon Fluxman, a Doctors in Unite member and retired GP, currently works in the Covid Clinical Assessment Service. He said it wasn’t rational “that the pubs are opening—indoor spaces, no ventilation”. 

“We’ve seen in places like Florida and Texas,” he explained, “several outbreaks of people and they have had to shut the bars down again. 

“It’s too soon to do this—stop doing this.”

Louise Irvin, a GP from south London who was at the protest, says she “knows personally how real all those statistics are”. “Three members of my family have been hospitalised because of coronavirus,” she explained. 

“One of them has very sadly died.” 

She added, “We have the highest number of excess deaths in Europe. 

“This is not the time to be easing the lockdown so quickly, so rapidly without proper protection for our workers.” 

Pubs 

One banner at the protest pointed to the danger of spreading indoors as pubs and restaurants open and people are forced back to workplaces. Louise said, “97 percent of super spreader events—where on person has infected dozens of other people—have happened in indoor spaces.” 

Coral Jones, a Doctors in Unite member, slammed the Tory government’s “reckless abandonment of lockdown measures” which means “people are being urged to go back to work”. 

“Indoor spread has killed bus drivers in London,” she said. “Unite has down a thorough assessment, along with UCL university engineers, to test air flow in buses to make buses safe. 

“All workplaces must have this standard.” 

Jackie Applebee, Doctors in Unite chair, said the government’s whole handling of the crisis had been a “fiasco” and questioned its strategy. “It seems to have been incompetent,” she said.

“We’re now lifting lockdown with no proper contact tracing up and running. 

“Places like New Zealand have managed to crush the virus, they’ve managed to almost eliminate it. And because they’ve got so few cases now they can get on top of it—why haven’t we done that?

“Johnson said something about ‘herd immunity’ a few months ago—is that what the strategy really still is.” 


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