Surely, the public will now come to see the reality of the English Nationalist (née Conservative) government’s obsession with austerity and getting out of the EU at any cost. The true cost of austerity and four years wasted on Brexit are being exposed by the Covid-19 crisis. Despite the fact that pandemic flu was viewed as a tier-one civil emergency risk, the UK is revealed as being unprepared. Since 2010, successive governments have cut hospital beds at a faster rate than other developed nations. In terms of intensive care beds the UK has some 7 per 100,000 inhabitants compared to 30 and 13 for Germany and Italy respectively. The consequences of the alarming mismatch between the resources needed to tackle coronavirus and what the NHS can currently command are belatedly dawning on the government and the population. One can’t help wondering if the UK’s lack of preparedness was behind the prime minister’s misguided attempt to allow the controlled spread of the virus in the hope of building herd immunity – though I doubt he believed he would be one of the policy’s guinea pigs having tested positive for coronavirus. Some two months after the disease was first reported in the UK, the health secretary has admitted there are ‘challenges’ with the supply of personal protective equipment to NHS staff and the government has acknowledged that the NHS will soon be overwhelmed.
26th March 2020