Everyone wants restrictions caused by Covid to end as soon as possible but most of us realise that this can only be done safely by doing it in the right way at the right time. I have no doubt that, by ignoring scientific and medical advice, bungling Boris is doing it too quickly and in the wrong way.
I have asked for a meeting of the Liverpool Council Group Leaders already called for this Friday to consider the following issues:
1. What is happening nationally to try and slow down the proposed changes until the virus infection rate is at a considerably reduced level than it is today and how we might join in these national efforts.
We know that national professional bodies such as the BMA and the Association of Directors of Public Health are expressing concern about the effects to health and therefore the NHS following 19th July. Already there are 4 million people awaiting surgery and waiting lists have soared. Pressure is once again being put on the NHS by increased Covid infection.
I am pleased that the Queen has recognised the work of the NHS staff with the award of the George Cross. However, our staff are grossly overworked and would probably have preferred a decent pay rise and some time off to repair themselves.
2. What pressure we might put on the Government to provide greater clarity on the advice they are giving about continued social distancing, masking etc.
Different Ministers are saying different things. This lack of clarity will ensure that many members of the public will not take the advice that is needed but will instead take the advice that they hear.
3. What efforts we can make locally through our public health, licensing, schools and other teams to continue to ensure that all places where people meet will continue to take sensible precautions to limit the spread of infections.
We cannot stop the stupidity of Ministers but we can seek to reduce the impact of that stupidity in our City. We need to use all the interactions that the Council has with the people who run the places where people of all ages meet to maximise the efforts that responsible business managers will continue to make to keep their premises safe.
We can take the lead by ensuring that all our buildings whether used only not only by our staff but also by the public such as St Georges Hall continue to practice face masks, social distancing and the use of hand sanitisers. We can refuse entry to our buildings if people are not willing to comply. This will send a strong message to other building owners and the public.
4. What messaging we can take to the Liverpool community that what Johnson allows us to do is not necessarily what we should be doing?
Many people will want to continue to ‘play safe’ and that includes me. I will continue to wear a mask in public buildings and on public transport and socially distance and use hand sanitisers. I will continue to test on a minimum of a weekly basis but more often if I have been ‘out and about’. I will continue to restrict access to my home. I will continue to look inside places to see if it is, in my opinion, too crowded.
I think many others will do that. But many more will want to but feel that they will be risking adverse comment if they do. The better the messaging about continued care the more likely that people will feel empowered to keep themselves and others safe.
Some reading this will conclude that I am being over protective, over the top and trying to keep restrictions in place for too long. They are entitled to that opinion.
I believe that as a lay person with no medical or scientific qualifications I should listen to those that have. I know that there are mental health issues for some people affected by lockdown and restrictions. I know that we need to find a balance between employment and health. I know that, as with influenza, there is an element in which we must learn to live with Covid.
However, I firmly believe that the total lifting of the restrictions is being done for the wrong reasons – political ones; and at the wrong speed – ignoring professional and scientific advice. I will continue to keep myself, my family and my community as safe as possible and hope that you will too.