Analysis comment

Vid: after 6 days ignoring SKWAWKBOX enquiries re Cuban antiviral drug, govt says talking “intensively” to Cuba “in recent days”

Since Friday, Department of Health unable or unwilling to say whether it was using Interferon Alfa-2b or had taken any steps to procure it. Now Raab says he has been talking to Cuba only ‘in recent days’
Dominic Raab: talking ‘intensively’ to Cuba – but only ‘in recent days’

As reported on Tuesday, the SKWAWKBOX had sent repeated enquiries to the Department of Health over a period of days, asking whether a Cuban drug used by China in its dramatic reduction of the death rate of the COVID-19 coronavirus was being used to treat patients in the UK – and if not, what steps the government was taking to obtain it.

Interferon Alfa-2b is part of a treatment regime that has seen China reduce coronavirus mortality to just 0.4%. It works by disrupting a virus’s replication inside cells, preventing the complications that can kill sufferers and reducing the need for intensive care unit treatment – and the drug is already licensed for use in the UK.

Cuban antiviral Interferon Alfa-2b

The Department of Health spokespeople the SKWAWKBOX talked to had not heard of the drug – and days later, there had still been no response.

But yesterday, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told MPs that the government was now ‘intensively’ collaborating with the Cuban government – but only ‘in recent days’:

The Tories have known for weeks that the virus was going to hit the UK – and its virulent spread and deadly effects have been well-known for even longer.

So why have they only started talking to the Cuban government ‘in recent days’ – and why did the Department of Health appear to be unaware of a key part of China’s successful treatment regime?

Assuming, of course, they’ve actually started doing so and are not just talking about the cruise ship with infected passengers that Cuba has allowed to land – the Department of Health is still not answering…

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  1. The British Embassy in China should have been able to gather all relevant information from local contacts.
    The Chinese Embassy in London could presumably also have revealed the same information if asked.
    I doubt if it even occurred to Hancock or Raab to ask.

  2. Ohh the irony ! A Conservative Govt having to beg ( intensive talks , ha ) a Socialist Govt of a small state to save it’s arse …. brilliant.
    Although Thatchers greatest achievement was Tony Blair and the Blairite neoliberal NuLabour then ….
    Just maybe , maybe Corbyns greatest achievement might be leading a Conservative Govt by it’s nose to adopt the Socialist ideals to save this xxxked up country . Get Brexit done and take it on the chin …that is all .

  3. Like shuting the door after horse has bolted. Personally I don’t think Boris wanted to prevent or stop it. Elderly and disabled be damned. I sincerely hope that whoever voted this totally ignorant stupid lying government in gets their just desserts.

  4. MS Braemar (luxury cruise ship) carrying covid 19 infected passengers, allowed to disembark in Cuba, after being refused permission in other countries. Where is the reportage?

    1. good question , perhaps they are in the best place with the greatest chance of survival in Cuba , better than here I’d conjecture .

    2. Yes Steve Richards. was made aware of that a few days ago and meant to post. They have since been allowed to board planes to return to UK. To be honest, were i in their position, i would remain there. Keeping them alive would be the Cuban priority despite the sanctions.

      Meanwhile here, proof that the profit motive kills, while cooperation in courages hope and gives life. The Co-Op is creating 5000 jobs and inviting people displaced by the likes of faux entrepreneurs who are really voracious plunderers and freeloaders… like Richard Branson (my belief)… The Co-Op is offering 5000 jobs to employers pumped and dumped by Virgin et al. The Co-Op has also speed up the job application process.

      Meanwhile again, Johnson’s Education Minister “shut up and go away” is the very sound of incompetence and emptiness in a LBC AM interview being trailed from Ferrari’s prog today. I do not listen to the F program so thanks to the clip just played again around 17:04, you too can be reminded of the vacuum that is the Boris Johnson flip flop confused brigade. Confused as their eugenic scam unravels.

      Only Jeremy Corbyn’s foresight re policies with inbuilt resilience can help us now. The Tory asset stripping of the NHS since the early 1990s at least means we are scrambling to cope now. Look at history. Crises DO happen. They should only surprise the Johnsons & Cummings. Listen for the demands from the 1% for handouts, while they keep their luxurious boats and villas. WE SHOULD ALL SAY NO‼️ No handouts to spivs‼️‼️ No bailouts for gluttons‼️‼️‼️ No socialising of losses for the disgusting bastards. They are not brilliant brains. They rancid bandits.

  5. Meanwhile, more corporate squealing and crying poverty.

    EasyJet wanting to scrub in-flight meals for cabin crew, and ISPs refusing to give free interweb to (poorer) kids while off school.

    Seems only the co-op are doing anything of use.

  6. “and the drug is already licensed for use in the UK”

    Of course it is, I had two courses of treatment on Interferon for hepatitis C over 10 yrs ago. The NHS uses it for all hepatitis and AIDS so they DO have stock. Someone from the government is lying or hiding the truth

  7. With respect, the exchange in the Commons had nowt to do with any Cuban deployment of Interferon drugs, and everything to do with the docking of a cruise ship. That was very welcome, but it cannot be conflated with this Cuban “wonder drug” that is mesmerising people.

    So here is the Hansard exchange in full; “Mr Alistair Carmichael (Orkney and Shetland) (LD) The Foreign Secretary is absolutely right: repatriation is a complex and costly business. But that is surely exactly why it should not just be left to individuals and why there must be a leading role for Government.

    Like many MPs, I have had representations this morning from constituents. Some of mine are on holiday in Morocco and now find themselves stranded. The ambassador’s Twitter account is telling them just to go to the airport with their passports and tickets and see what they can fix up when they get there. We realise that the consular services are under stress, but surely at this moment they have to have every possible resource to provide the best possible information for our constituents.

    Dominic Raab
    I totally agree with the right hon. Gentleman. We are providing the very best support, care and advice. When it comes to repatriations, at the outset we secured 200, I think, who came back from China. We are also working to secure the return of people on the Braemar cruise ship via Havana; it has been the most intense diplomacy I have had with my Cuban opposite number—and hugely welcome, because the Cuban Government have been very co-operative. We will do everything we can.

    The situation is very fluid. The decisions being made on the ground in countries such as the one that the right hon. Gentleman mentioned often happen rapidly. The challenge for airlines, the FCO and the consular advice and support that we provide is to make sure that we can respond—not just as quickly as possible, but as effectively as possible.”


      1. Exactly. Bawling about the Tories in a cacophony of indiscriminate headlines achieves nothing in this situation, and shouting ‘Tory!’ at anyone who calls out the indiscriminate bawling doubles down on crassness. There is, actually, real debate to be had.

        There are a lot of questions to be asked about government policy, implementation and timing – and Corbyn has actually been good at the sort of forensic approach that is actually needed – for those who care to listen.

        It’s not difficult to come up with a list of questions about particular issues that arise, but simply yelling ‘Tories are evil bastards!’ at every opportunity and simply opposing everything that is done on principle as a mega-conspiracy, whilst weaving stories around the thinnest of gruel achieves precisely nothing.

        Anyone who watches the press conferences knows how incompetent and out of his depth is Johnson, with his unfocussed ‘Burble, Blah, Blah etc.’ responses – when what is needed is clear messaging. Responding in kind with comparable incoherence is just a playtime diversion.

      2. The “forensic approach that is actually needed,” while it may be better at convincing a few thinking people, isn’t how the Tories win elections.
        They win elections by bawling about Labour in a cacophony of indiscriminate headlines, yelling “Corbyn is an antisemite!” at every opportunity, and by owning the propaganda machine that jams their lying bollocks down the poor fucktard electorate’s throats 24/7.

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