Ministers and officials had already been meeting to discuss the virus in China - but it felt thousands of miles away

Author : anandarakaananda928
Publish Date : 2021-03-16 16:02:25


Ministers and officials had already been meeting to discuss the virus in China - but it felt thousands of miles away

Since then, monumental decisions have had to be taken. And there have been many accusations of failings - the desperate shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE), Covid ripping through unprepared care homes, hundreds of billions borrowed and spent to keep the economy going, to name a few.

I have asked 20 of the most senior politicians, officials and former officials, who either witnessed or were involved in the big decisions, to pick five pivotal moments from the past 12 months.

What they say tells us so much about what really happened, what our leaders were thinking, and, strikingly, how little they knew. The contributors are not being named, so they could speak freely.
On 31 January, it was reported that coronavirus had arrived in the UK, as two people were admitted to hospital. Meanwhile, more than 80 Britons evacuated from China were quarantined at a facility in the north-west of England. But for the government, Brexit had sucked up all the political energy - it was the day the country officially left the EU.

The prime minister and his team were exhausted but elated. It felt like Boris Johnson had "just really started to take flight", one member of the team tells me.

Ministers and officials had already been meeting to discuss the virus in China - but it felt thousands of miles away. There was a "lack of concern and energy," one source tells me. "The general view was it is just hysteria. It was just like a flu."

The prime minister was even heard to say: "The best thing would be to ignore it." And he repeatedly warned, several sources tell me, that an overreaction could do more harm than good.

A small group in Downing Street had started daily meetings, after, according to one of those who attended, "it became clear that there was no proper, 'Emergency break-the-glass' plan."

But for many of those I've spoken to, the game-changer was at the end of February, when the virus took hold in northern Italy - it was closer to home, and England's chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, had, one minister told me, warned that if it got out of China, it would become global, and be on its way to the UK.

"The biggest moment for me was when I saw those pictures of northern Italy," one senior minister says. "I thought that will be us if we don't move."

Reports of the chaos there catapulted the virus, one senior minister says, "from not on the radar, to people on the floor of hospitals in Lombardy." They say that was the moment "we knew that it was inevitable".

Ministers and officials became locked in arguments over how to respond. The prime minister and many cabinet ministers were reluctant to consider anything as draconian as a lockdown. To many people, the very idea would have seemed fanciful.
Even stopping shaking hands seemed a step too far for the prime minister.

Before the first major coronavirus briefing on 3 March, he had, I am told, been prepared by aides to say, if asked by journalists, people should stop shaking hands with each other - as per government scientific advice.

But he said the exact opposite. "I've shaken hands with everybody," he said, about visiting a hospital with Covid patients.

And it was not just a slip, one of those present at the briefing says. It demonstrated "the whole conflict for him - and his lack of understanding of the severity of what was coming".

A Downing Street spokesperson told the BBC: "The prime minister was very clear at the time he was taking a number of precautionary steps, including frequently washing his hands. Once the social distancing advice changed, the prime minister's approach changed."
By this point, Mr Johnson was attending emergency committee Cobra meetings with officials and leaders from Holyrood, Belfast and Cardiff - although he had missed the first few.

But one senior politician who attended at the same time says: "The early meetings with the prime minister were dreadful." And inside Downing Street, senior staff's concerns about the government's ability to cope grew.

There were huge logistical considerations about equipment, facilities and how fast the disease might move in the UK, and questions about how effective the actions taken in China to suppress the virus would be here. It was not well understood, for example, that people without symptoms could still pass it on, nor that Britons returning from half-term holidays in northern Europe were bringing the virus back home in large numbers.

"There was a genuine argument in government, which everyone has subsequently denied," one senior figure tells me, about whether there should be a hard lockdown or a plan to protect only the most vulnerable, and even encourage what was described to me at that time as "some degree of herd immunity".

There was even talk of "chicken pox parties", where healthy people might be encouraged to gather to spread the disease. And while that was not considered a policy proposal, real consideration was given to whether suppressing Covid entirely could be counter productive.

On 3 March, when the prime minister set out the government's plan, the focus was on detecting early cases and preventing the spread.

https://zenodo.org/communities/sevendeadly-codegeas/?page=1&size=20

https://anandarakaananda927.medium.com/dozens-will-participate-as-advocates-call-for-a-3-5-billion-fund-that-would-provide-retroactive-1e0d5763cdec



Category : general

scribed a phone call he had with Chauvin on May 25, 2020, after Chauvin kneeled on Floyds neck. "I believe he told me that they had —

scribed a phone call he had with Chauvin on May 25, 2020, after Chauvin kneeled on Floyds neck. "I believe he told me that they had —

- scribed a phone call he had with Chauvin on May 25, 2020, after Chauvin kneeled on Floyds neck. "I believe he told me that they had —


Microsoft MD-101 Questions And Answers (2020)

Microsoft MD-101 Questions And Answers (2020)

- 100% real and updated exam questions with answers for all famous certifications. Pass in first attempt .Error Free Products with 24/7 Customer Support.Special discount offer for all customer


Within the context of a distributed system, you cannot have exactly-once message delivery. Message broker, such as Apach

Within the context of a distributed system, you cannot have exactly-once message delivery. Message broker, such as Apach

- // short new Intl.DateTimeFormat("en" , { timeStyle: "short" }).format(Date.now()) // "6:35 PM" // medium new Intl.DateTimeFormat("en" , { timeStyle: "


Oracle 1Z0-1060-20 Certification Exams That You Need to Check Outs

Oracle 1Z0-1060-20 Certification Exams That You Need to Check Outs

- Marketing automation is one of the great processes that help businesses not only to automate their repetitive marketing tasks.