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Wednesday, January 06, 2021

Is this another government fiasco in the making?

If there is one thing that has become clear from this pandemic, it is how incompetent the current Tory government is. 

Not only have they bungled the timing of lockdowns, leading to thousands of unnecessary deaths because of the Prime Minister's indecision, but they allowed the virus to spread unchecked into care homes housing some of those most vulnerable to the disease; they failed to equip care and NHS workers with PPE in a timely fashion, exposing them to infection, while at the same time awarding contracts for the supply of this protection to friends and colleagues without the proper tendering process, spending millions of pounds in the process, much of which appears to have been wasted; they have sent out mixed messages on schools, causing confusion and putting people at risk; consistently missed targets on testing and only now, nine months later have they introduced testing for those entering the country; and they have failed to practise what they preach with regards to lockdown rules, with breaches of protocol by high profile individuals undermining trust in government at a time when it was most needed.

And now they are in charge of rolling out the vaccine, which will hopefully draw this pandemic to a close. Already there are signs that things are not going well. It is enough to make a grown adult weep.

The Independent reports that the vaccines minister has refused to say when the target of 2 million weekly jabs will be hit, throwing doubt on the plan to ease the lockdown. 

The paper says the government pledged to vaccinate the 14 million most vulnerable people by mid-February – when the lockdown will be reviewed – which means about 2 million every week. But Nadhim Zahawi declined – twice – to say when that weekly figure will be achieved, promising only “a significant increase” when the first regular data is released next Monday.

They add that the deployment of the Wrexham-made Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is being hindered by the need for separate batch approvals and a worldwide shortage of glass phials. Surely that could have been anticipated and planned for:

Asked, again, on BBC Breakfast, when he was “optimistic” of hitting 2 million weekly innoculations, Mr Zahawi replied: “I don't want to pre-empt the figures. It's very important that when we publish figures they are accurate.”

The uncertainty comes before Boris Johnson faces the anger of many Conservative MPs, who will be told to give their retrospective backing to the third lockdown that came into force in England on Wednesday morning.

Although the prime minister has hinted at an easing of restrictions from late February, the legislation allows them to remain in place until the end of March – provoking suspicions.

On Tuesday, Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer, warned that some curbs will be required even next winter.

Mr Johnson argued the UK had made a remarkable start by vaccinating 1.3 million people already, including 650,000 over-80s – 23 per cent of the group most likely to be hospitalised or die of Covid-19.

He also pledged to have opened almost 1,000 vaccination centres by the end of this week, with seven major hubs in sports stadiums and exhibition centres next week.

But, in interviews, Mr Zahawi faced accusations that the government has consistently “overpromised and underdelivered” throughout the pandemic.

Once more we are faced with a government floundering in a crisis. The roll-out of vaccines have the potential to be another government fiasco in the making.

As I wrote elsewhere :

The inability to think beyond an immediate step is alarming to say the least. Much of the "science" on transmission is common to all sorts of infections,and having accumulated 9 months working experience you'd think that those spearheading the campaign to tackle Covid would now be proceeding with some awareness that thinking things through several possible steps is a far more "grown up" way of tackling their jobs. However the juveniles in charge - politicians - are much like spoilt children seeking instant gratification without any real depth of consideration for what comes after. In that respect politicians are no different to the public they castigate for attending house parties or gathering in numbers when the advice is clearly to the contrary. Now we have some vaccines and it will be very difficult to prevent yet another wave of self destruction as it will be seen as a total solution long before its benefits become widespread. Given a few bottlenecks in the supply chain which will cause some delay and disruption because no one took time out to examine each of the critical stages of the supply chain, there will inevitably be the usual round of new flannel from Boris and Co.

Most of 2021 will be wasted by incompetent government on the one hand and incontinent public on the other. Whoopee!!
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