In a previous post I alluded to the need the government to be put on a war footing in order to fight the present COVID-19 outbreak. Every day, all I hear is ‘we are working flat out’ to deal with the situation.
Well, perhaps, as the headline suggests, we don’t need so much to work flat out, but rather to use our heads a bit more. I am reminded by re-reading Churchill’s wartime memories that he took aircraft production and design away from the Air Ministry in 1940, and passed it to the Ministry of Aircraft Production. He asked Lord Beaverbrook to be the Minister in charge. He added that the air Ministry didn’t like this arrangement but that ‘our life depended upon the flow of new aircraft’. The point was well made.
Do we need to do something similar for testing? There are more than 4,000 school chemistry labs sitting idle at present. Every community in the country has one, with a technician and graduate teachers that could be retrained to undertake the anti-body tests when they are ready. Perhaps some might even be used to test for the virus if suitable cleaned and sterile?
Schools have 3D printers. Can we use them to create parks of face protectors and raid DIY and builders’ merchants for the face covering to fix to them? Task then to produce equipment for front-line pharmacy staff in the first instance since there are suggestions that they are well down the line in the PPE stakes.
This weekend a letter from the PM will be delivered, taking up Post Office resources that might be better used elsewhere. It will be accompanied by a booklet with all the current advice from government. However, I haven’t seen where this is available in large print; braille or even other languages for those not fully conversant in English. Is this a good use of resources at this time, especially if the government changes the rules on things such as business loans? Also, it doesn’t seem to remind those with bus passes of the change in use times during the crisis.
For those without cars and not in the key vulnerable groups, and living alone, this can be a tough time. Should more local stores offer ‘click and collect’ to reduce the numbers needing to browse shelves? Surely, one sanitised volunteer picker may spread less infection than a group of customers to a store, however well-spaced out they are.
I gather than some private schools are asking for either full or part fees for the summer term. It will be interesting to see how parents respond to these requests. I suspect that without fee income and the summer income many schools will struggle to cope with a six month break. We should be planning for the worst and hoping for the best.
Keep safe and well and my best wishes to all readers.