Shops open. Schools about to re-open. No healthcare crisis. Just 47 new cases – many of those returning from overseas. All without lock-down
South Korea has provided a damning indictment of the determination of Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock to ignore World Health Organisations warnings and recommendations on the handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
The UK has entered its third week of a lockdown that has gutted its economy and impoverished many of its people – and huge numbers of people continue to become infected, with hundreds dying daily.
And the NHS – already on its knees after a decade of Tory fragmentation and cuts – is in crisis, with front-line staff reduced to trying to hold their breath around infected patients and virus sufferers denied intensive care treatment and sent back home to infect others.
But in South Korea shops have stayed open, people are still working and economic meltdown has been avoided. There has been no ‘lock-down’ and no healthcare crisis – and the number of new infections in the country was just 47 in the last 24 hours, with a third of those involving people infected overseas and returning to the country. In the last fortnight, half of cases have been returners from abroad.
Because the South Korean government didn’t ignore the World Health Organisation on either the seriousness of the virus – or on the need to ‘test, test, test’ and trace the contacts of every infected person to isolate them and break the chain of transmission:
In the early days of the global outbreak, the UK government dismissed its threat and even when it arrived here, Boris Johnson quipped about ‘taking it the chin’ as his advisers told the nation the aim was ‘herd immunity‘ – a goal that has now been disguised, rather than abandoned.
Even as death numbers spiralled, the Tories only half-heartedly began to prepare – and the wasted weeks are costing huge numbers of lives: health workers in our crisis-hit NHS are both more likely to die and more likely to transmit the virus to their patients because of lack of testing and lack of protective equipment.
And the UK economy fell apart as workers lost jobs, businesses closed their doors or shut down completely.
While in South Korea, whose government actually listened and acted, life is returning to normal – and never ‘locked down’ in the first place.
The Tories are now reaching out to other parties in the hope of sharing blame when the UK tries to pick up the pieces shattered by their arrogance and incompetence.
The UK must understand how deep is the guilt of Boris Johnson, Matt Hancock and their helpers – and must not be allowed to forget.
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