Analysis Breaking

Wimbledon school closes as inadequate govt response to COVID-19 continues

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 Times reports on Tory deliberations whether lives or profits are more important

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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  1. I’m no fan of Lisa Nandy but

    Labour leadership candidate Lisa Nandy has called for emergency legislation to ensure that all workers receive sick pay from day one, amid the coronavirus – or COVID-19 – outbreak in the UK.

    The Wigan MP has joined other Labour Party figures and trade unions in urging a change to the law, as currently over two million low-paid UK workers do not have the right to sick pay from day one.

    Where are the other other 2 candidates on this?

  2. It’s becoming clearer that the Government has no intention of implementing any serious attempts to contain the virus. They baldly State it’s to avoid economic and social disruption. There is no mass screening or cleaning (eg of tube trains leaving Heathrow). Not even a quick wipe down. They’re satisfied the culling will be of highly expensive ( in terms of health costs and pensions) old geysers (mostly). Any plans to increase the 35 acute beds? None at all. Best of luck Old Geysers. And full disclosure, Yes, I’m one! And not impressed at the shrug of the shoulders from people like Johnson and being told to wash my hands as if I don’t it will be my fault.

    1. It would help if the Tories could put the health of the nation before political ideology.

      Downing Street has reportedly rejected pleas to keep the EU’s Early Warning and Response System (EWRS) after Brexit – despite the Coronavirus outbreak.The online platform has existed for 22 years to let health chiefs exchange rapid information about “serious cross-border threats to health”.

      But according to the Daily Telegraph, No10 has rejected pleas to keep it as part of a trade deal – despite even a Department of Health official lobbying for access.

      A source told the newspaper: “The Department of Health pitched for continued access to the EWRS to be an objective of the negotiations.
      “But it was blocked because they didn’t want to be accused of seeking more than the basic Canada deal.”

      1. Nothing like having a clear view of Tory priorities, is there?
        ‘Getting brexit done’ is obviously far more important than keeping the people as safe as possible.
        Got a cunning plan for this, heartlanders?

  3. Here’s what happened in Italy in the 1st week of disease spread, despite an immediate “lockdown and quarantine” strategy. The UK government may take note!! Though it probably won’t

    As you will see, the Italian government has put relief measures in place for quarantined workers in the red zones. People who are sick or hospitalized get their usual sick pay

    1. Even Hong Kong has handed out grants of c£1,300 to it’s affected citizens.

      1. Uh-oh… looks like you’ve caught apostrophitis from me…

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