Analysis comment

Govt’s Chief Scientific Officer publicly rebuked by epidemiologist for ignoring isolation rules

Patrick Vallance had said he would follow “social distancing and hand washing” – but told off and rebuked he should be going further
Patrick Vallance, right, with Boris Johnson – and not 2m apart

One of the two Chief Officers advising Boris Johnson – and until now appearing regularly with him in daily press conferences to communicate measures to ‘flatten the curve’ of the spread of the deadly coronavirus – has been publicly rebuked by an expert in the spread of infectious diseases.

For not following his and the government’s own instructions to ‘flatten the curve’.

The government’s Chief Scientific Officer Patrick Vallance tweeted today, after Boris Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock were confirmed to have tested positive for the virus, that he was showing no symptoms – and would merely be following social distancing and hand-washing measures.

But Vallance was publicly rebuked within minutes by epidemiology Professor Helen Ward for not following the government’s guidance on good practice to flatten the curve:

Ward is a professor in infectious disease epidemiology at the Imperial School of Public Health, about as authoritative a voice on the issue as could be imagined.

Ironically, Vallance’s own tweet linked to government guidance – which includes a link echoing Prof Ward’s comment for those who have been in close contact with anyone even manifesting symptoms, let alone confirmed to be infected.

Vallance’s colleague, Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty, has now manifested symptoms after Johnson’s diagnosis – and is now self-isolating.

Earlier today, Downing Street told the SKWAWKBOX that neither man was symptomatic nor had been tested – an illustration of how rapidly things can change and why precautionary isolation is so necessary as UK deaths from the coronavirus plague start to rocket.

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  1. Boris & Trump’s incompetence will cost many lives. The US now has the 94,238 confirmed Covid-19 cases, the highest number in the world. As for how many infected people there are in the UK, that’s anybody’s guess.

  2. From day one Vallance has not inspired confidence, quite the reverse. When the government refers to its scientific “experts,” it should add :
    “(not very good ones).”

  3. Both the experts the government says it relies on are duffers who know what is required to get that peerage one day. Johnson’s belief, like Trump’s is that it’s a mild illness we should all catch in the hope it gives immunity. Vallance goes out of his way to support that crackpot theory which relies so much on whether catching it provides immunity eg against its variant successors.

  4. The guardian asks, “ How will the UK function with a sick prime minister?” Yes a SICK prime minister. Easy. Exactly as “functioning” now. Tory Boris Johnson cack handed, callous, crass, calamitous “functioning”. Boris Johnson Tory “functioning” – A STINKING pile of
    TORY M Y T H 🔵🔵🔵

  5. I must admit, the UK has elected the largest shower of shite I’ve ever witnessed in more than 44 years of following politics events in our nation.

    To think that it was only back in December that the nation was being warned that Mr Corbyn poised an existential threat to our nation and anyone who was Jewish would be dealt with, for what crimes we were not instructed, but Corbyn was not to be trusted.

    Now, whilst I’m having a go at the Tories, I note that other shower of shite that will be led by Sir Keir Starmer, namely the neoliberal, warmongering, anti-democracy PLP is positively delighted that it has ensured that the most incompetent, crass and risible Government to hold office, all in order to ensure that the UK never got a sniff of genuine Leftwing governance, by a man who usually oozed concern for those less fortunate than himself.

    To claim this shower of baboons has in any way assisted in protecting the public from a nasty pathogen would be a gross exaggeration. First it was denied that a virus doing the rounds in Asia was a threat, then, when it cropped up on our shores, again it was not a threat, and if it was a threat, not to worry as the clown would sort it out with Churchillian action.

    Well folks, we do seem doomed, i mean, with all this crap happening the most likely next leader of Her Majesties Loyal Opposion has himself gone into isolation, whilst our beloved Corbyn has been out on the Streets expressing concern and showing a lot of empathy for the plight of those in our society our Party should be representing.

    As this crisis grows and the economy suffers further damage, remember, many were warned about Bojo and chose to ignore it prefer the lies of the MSM, and, could you believe our own PLP.

    Absolute shambles and highly concerned for my own folks in isolation in Torfaen.

    1. Isolation? This is what Keir Starmer said earlier today.

      “But if we are to repay that debt [to the NHS staff] we cannot ignore the challenges they face in the weeks and months ahead.
      And we must call the Government out whenever it fails to give our NHS and our care workers everything they need – not to score political points, but to stand up for those we owe most to at a time of national emergency.

      That’s why I want to set out the three things the Prime Minister should priorities for the NHS and staff during this unprecedented period.

      Firstly, alongside an urgent increase in our ventilator capacity, the Government must provide far more reassurance to frontline staff that they will have access to the equipment they need to keep them safe. Masks, gloves and aprons are an essential armour against the virus.
      We must keep our NHS staff safe so they can keep us all safe.
      This should not just be limited to hospital staff, though.
      The Government should set out in the clearest possible terms what support is available to staff working in our care system, when that equipment will be available and how they can access it.
      We cannot expect staff to provide adequate care if we are not caring for our staff.

      Secondly, we are miles behind where we need to be on testing. We are still only testing around 8,000 people day, far fewer than some other countries.
      The Government has never adequately explained why this is the case and there is no coordinated national plan to rollout any new tests that could soon be made available.
      Ministers must learn from the mistakes of the past few weeks, boost the UK’s capacity for testing and ensure our NHS and care workers are the first in line.

      Thirdly, ministers cannot turn a blind eye to the extraordinary pressures this epidemic will be placing on an already broken social care system.
      Decisive action to fix and fund care for the elderly and vulnerable in this country is long overdue.
      However, the immediate crisis requires immediate attention. I am therefore calling on the Prime Minister, as he has promised for the NHS, to do whatever it takes to support social care.
      Ministers should work with councils, charities and care homes to ensure resources are available to guarantees no one is forced to suffer unnecessarily because of this crisis.

      The coronavirus crisis is showing us just how valuable our public services are.

      The NHS is one of our country’s greatest achievements.

      It shows that we are at our best as a country when we work together for the common good.

      It cares for us and now we must care for it too.

  6. Well looks like Hancocks bailed out like Johnson,just another tactic in social distancing to evade a mass culling charge of the people and a trip to the Haig.I see Dr mengles is given a slap on the wrist when a prison sentence would be more appropriate.Can vallance really claim like johnson and Hancock they didnt know.This whole fiasco is a failed ideological experiment thats now out of control.And whos now in charge?..eugenics expert Cummings.?

  7. And hello from Cambodia were the British embassy used armed gaurds to turn away trapped British tourists who are trapped unable to find a flight home and running out of money.?No way to treat desperate people and contrast that with the Australian embassy and France and Germany who are providing acomadation and help….United kingdom?

    1. The airlines that are flying out of Phnom Penh are requiring a virus free certificate before boarding(understandable)but they are difficult to obtain here ,so the French have provided them and germany all at the Pasteur institute in Phnom Penh.The British embassy is uncontactable by telephone and just refers to website.(IChecked)and received the same runarond….I am lucky in that I neither want or need the help from the embassy,but really is this the UK anymore??and should we all start to realise that its us and Them and they couldn’t care less.United kingdom??

      1. The woeful lack of support from the Foreign Office is clearly illustrated by the plight of these NHS nurses.

        “We went to the British Embassy yesterday but we had to ring them three times before they let us in. It’s atrocious. We had to go away and ring them, we were on the phone for hours. Then the Embassy finally let us in after about five hours, and all they did was look online for a flight for us. They said there was a flight on Friday and that we should book it.”

        They each paid £900 to book their seats on the plane, but within half an hour the booking was cancelled, and they were told it could be up to six weeks before they were refunded.

  8. Somewhat concerning but i was talking ( from a distance ) to my neighbour tonight and they said that in the local council where they work in emergency planning there was an increasing presence of military personnel . Just musing that with ( hopefully ) more of the bastards in the cabinet going down with this and bailing out , I wonder if they are expecting trouble and getting ready for a military response ?

    1. Rob – Concerning yes, surprising no. However it would also be concerning if they weren’t making plans for every eventuality.

      1. While I’m only too well aware there are some nasty individuals out there, especially in places like Lewisham and Greenwich, areas I know very well, has it also not occurred to you, Steve, that some people, at least, might be so desperate now for sustenance due to Tory austerity, they’ll resort to whatever measures it takes?

        The problem is that it only describes them as ‘muggers’ but with everyone now in lock-down and, especially for the homeless where there’s no-one to give them money or food, it’s not at all clear who they are exactly. Desperate times often lead to desperate measures.

        I fully suspect they are wrong’uns but we still need to be very wary of taking things on face value and thereby falling into the divisive trap the right-wing always use to hold on to power.

        That’s not suggesting The Guardian is playing that game here, unlike their antisemitism crusade but I doubt they’ve looked any further than just reporting what they’ve been told.

        It’s just a thought.

      2. PW, stealing a nurse’s ID badge – what would be the purpose of that?
        I’d suggest it can only be to blag their way into peoples’ homes to steal, or to move around hospitals unnoticed to steal drugs/medical supplies/equipment to sell at a profit to desperate people.

        Whatever the reason there’s no excuse.

      3. Yes, David, a very fair point I certainly wouldn’t argue with.

        On the other hand, it doesn’t mean someone with mental health issues, or perhaps being not very bright, wouldn’t think they could get away with getting food that way.

        I’m just trying to make the point that things aren’t always what they might appear to be and that we shouldn’t always jump to conclusions.

        I know from my own experience that we sometimes do things under extreme circumstances that we otherwise wouldn’t dream of doing.

    2. All Councils have disaster procedure rules,and one of them is to provide refuge for themselves,and usually in a secure and secluded area for (leaders of the community)Reigate had a hideaway in Reigate caves for the elites payed for by us to be enjoyed by them if the worst happened.Well thats the official secrets act blown by me the and thats what they do .when the chips are down and look after themselves and their families first.

      1. Joseph, life in a nuclear bunker would have been more suffered than enjoyed, and probably not for very long once the blue touch paper had been lit.
        Letting all the old command & control centres rot after the West ‘won’ the Cold War was a mistake.
        I visited a couple of them and they weren’t what I’d call “comfortable.”

      2. Yes David,but this was TORY controlled Reigate in Surrey,and I was very impressed with the facilities for the Councillors when we t given a tour of the caves beneath Reigate town centre.The only trouble I could see was being trapped inside with a bunch of Torys,libdems and my group leader.?…IT just felt wrong because I rarely met any councillors who have any original thoughts and most were a very poor example of leaders of the community….most had an elastic band tied to their hands especially when it comes to voting….metaphorically that is?

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