The Tories are now unleashing the “herd immunity” strategy they always wanted as a way of dealing with Covid.
Not content with allowing infections to rampage through schools, the government’s UKHSA healthcare safety body announced new guidance for hospitals.
The measures say that staff no longer need to wear masks in non-clinical areas, such as waiting rooms and offices.
Social distancing will drop from the current two metres between people down to one metre.
And surfaces will no longer need to be “deep cleaned” to prevent the spread of infection.
That means Covid will be able to spread easily among staff and visitors in parts of your local hospital— and of course, from them on to vulnerable patients too.
The body has also insisted that hospitals drop the requirement for patients to take a thorough PCR Covid test and isolate for three days before a procedure.
Instead, the less reliable lateral flow Covid tests are now deemed sufficient.
Health secretary Sajid Javid claims strict measures are “no longer necessary”.
But a glance at what has happened in schools since all protective measures were abandoned shows how dangerous the Tory policy is.
The Tories say hospital safety measures need to be relaxed so hospitals can deal with more of the patients that are on long waiting lists. But spreading Covid among health workers and patients is only going to make the NHS crisis worse.
It all reminds me of the way the government treated care homes—and their elderly residents—in the early months of the pandemic.
Ministers refused all safety measures and sent thousands of hospital patients untested into care settings that were utterly unable to cope with infections.
We cannot allow such a scandal to occur again.
As health workers we have a responsibility to ourselves, our colleagues and our patients to stand up for the best Covid protection possible.
Workers will pass up Tory plans
People who go overseas for work usually plan for the long term.
If they aren’t students, they’ll want to make a home for themselves in a new place for at least a few years, if not for the rest of their lives.
I know that because I was one of them.
Fifteen years ago I came to Britain to start a new life. If I were only offered a three months job, I would not come back.
That’s why the government’s offer of 5,000 temporary visas for HGV drivers and logistic workers will not attract much interest. Last week we heard just 27 EU lorry drivers have applied for temporary visas to work in Britain.
The Tories do not care about essential services, whether it is the food and fuel supply chain or social care. Instead of solving the current crisis, they prefer to maintain their xenophobic and racist immigration regime.
They do this in the hope of dividing working class people and holding onto power.
Temporary visas, expiring on 24 December, are just a sham solution and a slap in the face of all immigrant workers.
The next winter of discontent is coming, and we need to make sure that much of ordinary people’s anger will be brought on Tories.
Misleading claims that earnings increased
Tory ministers have been claiming that earnings have been increasing at an annual rate of more than eight percent. The truth is less dramatic.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) points out that the current annual rate of earnings increase of 8.3 percent is much less, at 6.8 percent.
If we strip out discretionary bonus payment, and in real terms, after inflation, it’s just 4.5 percent.
The current increase is, in any case, compared to the earnings most workers were forced to accept as the pandemic took hold last year.
And a big proportion of the jobs that were destroyed in mid-2020 were low-paid jobs.
This has artificially raised raising the calculation of average pay.
The ONS says that this effect reduces the current apparent annual increase to just 2.8 percent at most.
It’s clear we’ll need to organise to push union leaders to lead a fightback to defend pay.
Vaccine hesitancy has its racist roots
Socialist Worker is right to point out that the anti-vaxxer movements in France are largely led by nasty fascist elements.
However, in the French Caribbean colonies of Guadeloupe and Martinique, the vaccination rates are relatively low due to other reasons.
The French government has for years disgracefully covered up the scandal of the carcinogenic pesticide Chlorodecone being used on banana plantations from 1972 to 1993.
The dangers of the pesticide had been widely known from as far back as the 1960s. The pesticide has now been banned in the region, but traces of it have still been found in over 90 percent of the population according to a 2014 study. Is it any wonder that the mainly black population are deeply suspicious of the same government’s attempts to increase vaccination rates?
Combine this with the systematic discrimination against the post-slavery populations by a European country that presides over a deeply racialised society.
The Chlordecone cover-up has a lot to answer for.
The title of the TV programme set in Guadeloupe, Death in Paradise, now takes on a very different meaning.
Another Labour cop out
I was absolutely lost for words with the news of the launch of Labour Friends Of The Police.
I am given to understand that this new police fan club has the backing of none other than Neil Kinnock.
MPs lined up to show their support.
I had to check the Twitter page of Jessica Morden, Newport East Labour MP, to be sure the photo wasn’t a spoof, but it’s there!
Vinyl needs an upgrade
Recycled and innovative materials are part of the answer to how we can better store music.
First, there’s the argument that long term you only need to play a record a certain amount of times before the energy used on its production is less than the power a server would use to store it.
Updating vinyl gives music lovers control and ensures art survives in its intended form and can’t be edited, erased or monopolised as easily by corporate entities.
Television news didn’t show protests
I saw nothing about the protests at the Tory party conference on the news last week.
But I did see Johnson gurning at the camera and pronouncing his usual lying shite!
The Tories shirk care burden
Sajid Javid saying healthcare starts “at home” is a worrying statement.
All this mentality does is put more of a burden on those who do caring roles—primarily women. It also lets the state off the hook.