By Sophie Squire
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Lifting lockdown—Johnson’s virus plans spell disaster

This article is over 2 years, 9 months old
Issue 2762
Restrictions will be lifted as cases rise
Restrictions will be lifted as cases rise (Pic: Flickr/ Number 10)

Boris Johnson knows that Covid-19 cases are going to soar. Regardless, he has signalled the end of all ­lockdown restrictions.

While breaking the news on Monday, Johnson admitted that daily cases will rise to 50,000 by the time regulations are scrapped on 19 July.

By Tuesday health secretary Sajid Javid said cases could hit 100,000 a day in the summer. They don’t know what this will mean for hospitalisations and deaths—and they don’t care.

Johnson has already set out his plan to blame ordinary people for the chaos to come. “People can make their own informed decisions about how to manage the virus,” he said.

He offered support to education secretary Gavin Williamson who was set to announce the scrapping of many restrictions in schools as Socialist Worker went to press.

Bosses will now be encouraged to demand workers return to unsafe workplaces.

According to the World Health Organisation, seven of the top nine worst-hit regions in Europe are in Britain. And cases are rising at a faster rate than anywhere in Europe.

Unless there is resistance the Tories will unleash more death and illness.

‘We can’t carry on as we are’

“Boris Johnson is so ­arrogant, so pig-headed, only an NHS strike will force him to increase our pay,” says NHS worker and union ­activist Jordan Rivera.

Many thousands more agree with her.

The NHS Pay Review body is set to make its recommendation in the coming days. The ­government has already said it wants to offer just 1 percent.

Rumours suggested the body was likely to propose 2 percent. It’s an incredible insult to people who continue to put their lives on the line during the pandemic.

The nurses’ RCN union said it will ballot its members for action if no serious offer is made.

Tories pile stress on NHS—followed by a pay insult
Tories pile stress on NHS—followed by a pay insult
  Read More

“Two percent will not help us retain staff or recruit to fill the vacancies,” says Leah, a nurse and RCN member. “The NHS crisis will continue and that puts patients at risk.

“But they should know that the RCN is serious about taking action. The union this week issued a video to members that tells us to prepare.

“People are burnt out and tired. We certainly can’t carry on as we are. The battle now is to convince them that we can fight—and to make sure we can win a vote for industrial action.”

Jordan added that many health workers worry about the impact strikes may have on patients. So it’s important to take time to explain how an NHS strike would work.

“Unison has called NHS strikes before and kept patients safe,” she said. “I say to people, ‘If we don’t take action now, when is this situation ever going to end?’”

Jordan and Leah are right. Only action can stop the Tories from destroying the NHS and wrecking health workers’ lives.

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