Will this be all over by Christmas?
PUBLISHED: 05:30 21 September 2020 | UPDATED: 09:44 21 September 2020
The Prime Minister warned last week that a second wave of COVID-19 is “inevitable”. It was a stark reminder that we are not out of the woods with coronavirus, writes Ipswich Borough Council leader David Ellesmere.
Even in areas like Suffolk which currently have relatively low levels of infections it is imperative that we all follow the rules: don’t meet in groups of more than six, wear face coverings in enclosed public spaces and keep washing your hands.
The second wave will be a severe test of the Government. I sincerely hope that it has learned the lessons from its failures in the first wave.
When the virus is increasing exponentially – as it appears to be doing now – every day ministers delay taking action means that the measures needed will have to be stronger and left in place for longer, causing deeper damage to the economy.
The Government’s test and trace system is facing severe problems.
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Just like the A-levels fiasco when they had months to prepare, ministers seem to have been completely caught out by the inevitable spike in cases following the return of schools and universities.
It would be far better if Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock cut back on the rhetoric of “world beating” test and trace or 10 million tests a day “moonshots” and focused on getting the basics right. There have been far too many wildly over-optimistic claims by Government ministers that have proved to be baseless. It casts a big doubt on their competence and certainly makes it harder to trust them.
This is a dangerous situation when we need the public to trust and follow the advice given by ministers.
It would be far better if the Government, from the Prime Minister down, told us when there are problems and how they are going to be sorted out rather than pretending everything is OK.
If the problems are serious – let us know. No one is expecting this to be easy.
Winston Churchill was admired at the start of the Second World War for telling the British people that he could only promise “blood, sweat and tears”.
History has judged him far better than the politicians who promised that the First World War would “all be over by Christmas”.
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