School not taking calls as it closes for one week in spite of 14-day incubation
Wimbledon College in London has closed after a staff member returning from a trip to Italy was confirmed to be suffering from the COVID-19 coronavirus.
However, as a letter to pupils’ parents confirms, the school hopes to reopen next Tuesday, 10 March:
The decision to open next week – taken in conjunction with Public Health England and the local authority – is surprising in the light of the 14-day incubation period of the virus. While ‘close contacts’ are being required to self-isolate, the virus is known to spread easily – and those infected can pass on the disease before symptoms manifest.
The ongoing decision to ask potential sufferers to ‘self-isolate’ is symptomatic of the continued lax government response to what has clearly become a serious health emergency in several countries.
‘Self-isolation’ appears to be unmonitored and is unlikely to mean complete quarantine, as people with family responsibilities may not be able to completely avoid interactions with family members, who then may interact with others and provide a route for transmission – especially while asymptomatic.
This applies even more so when the requirement to self-isolate for 14 days clashes with the ten-day statutory sick pay that could leave many facing a choice between working and possibly infecting others, or staying home and struggling financially.
But as the SKWAWKBOX revealed when the first passengers exposed to COVID-19 in China were brought back to the UK for supposed quarantine, even the government’s monitored isolation is little more than a cover for ‘self-isolation’ – which the Department of Health admitted is what it was asking passengers housed at a Wirral hospital to do:
Worse, the government had learned no lessons when it brought back passengers from an infected cruise ship in Japan. As the passengers arrived at the Wirral hospital, bus drivers and other personnel were clearly seen to be not even wearing masks in an enclosed space with them:
And the Tories’ NHS preparations have been pathetically inadequate – a mere thirty-five additional beds for treating a disease that has created hundreds of new cases per day in other countries, along with a plan to put vulnerable retired medical personnel into the front line of the battle against the virus.
The Tories’ incompetence, indifference and sheer reckless disregard for the people of this country is writ large in their response to this crisis.
Wimbledon College is not taking calls. Instead, a recorded message simply says that parents will be updated with developments.
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