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Sunday, 26 April 2020

West moves to Phase II of Wuhan virus response

At slightly different speeds and in slightly different ways, the nations of the Western world are now moving together into Phase II of their response to the Wuhan virus. How hard lockdowns are being lifted will vary according to local conditions, but we now have confidence that the toll from the bug can be controlled if necessary. Now we know the brakes work, it's time to take our foot from the brake pedal.

It will change our behaviour for ever, just as AIDS did in the early '80s. Even if the Wuhan virus proves a great deal less lethal and much less transmissible - it's native R0 of ~2.3 is around half that of ~4.6 for AIDS - its character may mean that we must protect the old and vulnerable whilst the rest of us carry on as normal, polarising society. Grandparents would be separated from their grandchildren, the morbidly obese would need either to lose weight or adopt leper lifestyles and the immunocompromised remain behind closed doors.

Pressure will now be intense on the world's indigenous peoples to stop eating bats and monkeys - too many novel diseases have sprung from this practice, distasteful to Western tastes, since jet travel and increased prosperity enabled enhanced transmission. And China must stop sending her diplomats to lie and evade responsibility for the Wuhan virus; listen if you will to Friday's World at One interview with Chen Wen, China's deputy ambassador to the UK (from about 11:06 to 28:30). It's a stunning display of authoritarian delusion. No wonder the government have now removed the China line from the daily Covid-TV graphs - it's pure fiction. She also denied that China had any 'wet' markets at all that sold bats, beavers, badgers and other wild animals, dead and alive - not so she said. China had farmers' markets, which sold fresh meat and vegetables. Well, I've been to Blackheath farmers' market a few times and have never found live eating-snakes and Pangolin chops on the stalls there. Tom Tugendhat is actually right about China - I just wish he was a little more articulate and animated about it. And it's not just China. Africans must either close down their bushmeat markets or their visitors must face a month's quarantine before those wealthy corrupt ministers' wives, fat as butter, can spend their stolen cash in Bond Street.

Phase II will also introduce enhanced national security measures not unrelated to our having left the EU. Our waters and the fish that dwell in them have now become a national security asset in a way they weren't in December. There is zero chance that we'll now trade away even a scintilla of control. The new quarantine requirements for visitors will become a permanent feature - at least the requirement for visitors to register an address, for track-and-traceability. No great novelty there for anyone who knows Europe and has completed a fiche or meldezettel at a hotel or rented villa.

As for forecasts that Phase II will see the demise of cash - I'm not convinced. Oh for sure, our steel and nickel coins and plastic and paper notes are filthy, but that hasn't always been the case. Both silver and copper have strong antiviral properties, and I'm sure it is not beyond the wit of man to incorporate silver or copper ions in banknote 'paper'. Till-draw cavities could also be internally flooded in UV to allow constant viral destruction. Cash expresses our freedom from absolute State control, and we'd be foolish to allow it to be taken from us even at this time.

The debates, the research, the policy trials and errors will continue into Phase II. We don't yet have the answers, but we approach the next stage with greater confidence in ourselves and our abilities. Let's just ensure the world on the other side is a better one, albeit a different one, to that in 2019. 


Anonymous said...

Good Morning Raedwald,

With your forbearance, for a while now your post on smoking has caused me to discomfort; there was something I saw long ago, but couldn't remember, that should be seen by all smokers seeking to give up, and here it is:

Bob Newhart at his best!

JPM said...

There is nothing slight whatsoever in the difference between the ways in which the UK and US have handled this epidemic, and those in which Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Greece, Denmark etc. etc. have.

Yes, the same techniques have been used of social distancing, test, trace and isolate, but timeliness is everything, and so is scale and thoroughness. The differences in those metrics are enormous, and it is on those that the recklessness or criminality of governments will be judged.

DeeDee99 said...

It was blindingly obvious that flights from heavily infected countries should be stopped OR passengers should be placed in quarantine for 2 weeks. But for months, including during lock-down, the Government has allowed the unchecked flights to continue.

Now we're being told that actually, people flying in WILL have to be quarantined for two weeks. So what changed, Raedwald? Did the Government and "the Experts" suddenly catch a common sense virus?

The Government's performance to the Wuhan Flu crisis has been an utter shambles. And I have no confidence whatsoever that it will change.

andy01 said...

"the recklessness or criminality of governments".
Chuck it Smith.
We have been hit by something we did not predict, could not predict.
Yes, we could always say "We are all doomed," but could never say how.
People have died, who would have died hereafter. People have lost their livelihoods, lost what they worked to build over years.
We do not have an answer.
In the end, we or our children will crawl out of this and rebuild, reckless and criminal as we have always had to be.

jim said...

Diplomat - a honest man sent to lie abroad for his country. Why any surprise.

China warned us and published the details on January 24th, we took no notice. Neither the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, nor the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group nor NHS England nor the CMO woke up to the significance. WHO warnings? strictly for poor brown people.

Now we have loads of spies and embassy staffers in Beijing and surrounding locations. To say nothing of expensive computer listeners. All besties with Tugendhat. If there were piles of bodies I am sure we would know about it - so far nada. The real reason for removal of China data is that the steep decline in China's death rate is an embarrassment.

Anyone who has travelled has seen the markets of Asia and Africa. If you think they are going to change on our say so you are in for disappointment. We don't do colonial District Officers these days. Remember those corrupt ministers do not move cash around on their own, they use the specialist services of our banks and accounting firms and keep the expensive end of our property market up.

Most countries have given up on those silly bits of paper at the airport 'where are you staying'. One made up any old hotel for that. Sure, hotels etc do photocopy your passport but it all disappears into a large bin somewhere. As for the fish and waters. A non issue, of negligible economic importance, only important to marginal MPs out in the boondocks.

Worryingly things are starting to look a little worse in Japan and Singapore and possibly Beijing. Is this the reason for quarantining incoming airline passengers. Are we in for another basinful of CV.

A cynic might suggest that HMG would do well to stir up mixed messages and sow a bit of confusion. Loosen the lockdown a little fully aware that freedom will accelerate beyond their control. If things go badly they can hide behind denial and confusion. If things are not so bad then plucky little Britain. Either way economics will soon triumph over body count.

Span Ows said...

andy01 09:44, "We have been hit by something we did not predict, could not predict."

This isn't true. We have had various warnings over the decades and some very specific ones too. The SARS emerging and reemerging has been 'there' hidden in open view for the whole of this centruy at least, in 2007 we were warned not only of the 'ticking time bomb' but that it'd be from China.

Anon 0750: very funny. I was tempted to watch a few more, the "Interview Nightmare" just had me in stitches. LOl

microdave said...

"The new quarantine requirements for visitors will become a permanent feature"

I'll bet it won't apply to the steady stream of illegal immigrants crossing the channel on an (almost) daily basis...

Ed P said...

Tests showed how long active viral traces lasted on various surfaces - copper was up to 3 days!
Back in sensible times, most taps (faucets) were made of brass, which has a natural anti-bacterial surface effect. Anti-viral too? Dunno.

Anonymous said...

I have to say we should've done things earlier as the signs were there that this new virus had escaped China and was now on the run. My guess is about 4 weeks out for the UK - and as we've seen with the NHS Nightingale you can get a lot done in a month. So the strongest measures such as Lockdown should have been enacted the last week in February; social distancing probably earlier - weeks earlier. This isn't Sweden either as population density there is far, far lower. Cities get hammered for one simple reason: they're anti-human. This is biology folks and coming out of this is fraught with danger.


Dave_G said...

I'm quite surprised people still consider the virus as the risk when it is clearly the cover story for events that have yet to transpire but we suspect - more than suspect - are more economically inclined than medical.

The figures for Covid are no worse than many prior years influenza no matter what anyone states - including precautions people might want to take to protect the vulnerable - and that's without taking into account the 'inflated' figures for deaths and infection. It's a damp squid.

The REAL effects of the so-called plandemic have already destroyed more lives and businesses than the illness itself (God alone knows what the follow on suicide rates will climb to) and we haven't even begun the hard part - recovery.

Stop this BS about Covid being a problem and explore the knock-on effects and the political manipulation of people, events and freedoms that have been dismantled right in front of our faces under its guise.

A few months from now you'll be asking how you allowed the virus to blind you to the real deceit.

Raedwald said...

Ed P - take a look at

Consistent with all the other resaerch I've seen - Cu (and Ag) have a strong viricidal effect. And it's the copper in brass that makes it work I suspect - although Zn may also have some effect.

DJK said...

The quarantine of overseas visitors is long overdue. This will, of course, kill foreign holidays, and the airlines too. Who wants to go to Spain if you have to quarantine for two weeks when you get there and another two weeks when you get back?

There are many odd things about Covid-19. Why are the outcomes so different for Spain and Portugal. Or Britain and Ireland, come to that. How come the number of new infections is declining faster in Sweden than in Britain?

John in Cheshire said...

In the olden days; ie. in the 1970s; it was the responsibility of the local government Public Health Inspectors to trace those who had been in contact with anyone who had a Notifiable Disease. I've lost touch with the legislation but I believe that since the job title has been changed to Environmental Health Officer that responsibility was taken from them and given to, I think, Public Health England.

That's where some of the problems began, I suggest, in that centralising things in the name of efficiency terms to result in just the opposite. And also creates little empires that focus too much on power grabs.

Public Health Inspectors used to do a really good job for the local people. Now, I'm not so sure because they seem to have been robbed of their responsibilities by all and sundry.

Maybe this virus situation will demonstrate a need to restore the old PHI departments in Town Halls around the country.

Nick Drew said...

I wonder if you're right abt fishing in the negotiations

it seems that our fishing waters are the thing that several EU nations really care about: and (as i've read) our own fishing industry would be stuffed if deprived of the EU market for exporting our product

continued fishing access in return for continued tariff-free trade? That's an easy one

so - unless you are proposing we switch to a fish diet for reasons of self sufficiency (and reduction in epically wasteful beef farming) - it becomes purely a symbolic matter, & only of strategic significance because it's a concession that objectively speaking we can readily afford to make

(a massive PR & political issue, obviously ...)

Nessimmersion said...

The quarantine requirements will just be for those coming from "plague" areas, we aren't going to shut down all international travel for ever.
The reason new infections are declining more quickly in Sweden is that they didn't have a lock down and did more to protect care homes.
As most people are agreed the Ferguson model/assumptions are wrong and the virus was well spread in UK by New Year, for a lock down to work it would have been needed by the end of 2019 to have any effect.
Israeli research indicates the lockouts have virtually no effect on the virus, just screw your economy for a generation.
Far better to do what Sweden did ( & UK planned before Boris panicked /listened to catastrophists, although we don't have a culture of protecting care homes).
At least Sweden will have a functioning economy once.this is over

Dave_G said...

@DJK each countries Government can produce whatever figures they wish in order to support or undermine the requirement for lock down. People would be foolish to think that the daily figures given and regurgitated by the BBC are anything other than a propaganda tool.

Figures from the ONS appear to contradict the stated 'facts' and if you care to look and/or check for yourself you will find most hospitals running UNDER capacity and deaths from many usually major diseases/illnesses suspiciously low. Even those at the Nightingale are complaining of lack of customers.

You might as well go to hospital with a major coronary and die from the strain of laughing at a decent joke whilst in there - you'll still be dead but at least the death certificate won't say 'died laughing'.

Corona Virus though......

Raedwald said...

Ah Mr D - yes of course we'll need to give EU27 vessels access to our waters for many years to come, perhaps permanently - on the basis the PM has set out, annual licences granted by the UK.

What they (mostly Macron, I think) want is the *right* in perpetuity to take fish from UK waters - and they ain't going to get it.

Boris knows how emotive this issue is and he won't budge - granting concessions would mean losing the GE in 2024.

Nessimmersion said...

Fish - As Raedwald intimated, we'll probably annually license foreign vessels, as the domestic fleet to catch all the fish in our waters still has to be built.
Many of the fishing boat owners are the worst offenders for crewing vessels with cheap foreigners, look at all the dusky hues in Peterhead - certainly not local-its called the blue toon for a reason.

AFAIK- The value in fish caught is approx 15% to boat & 15 % to shop, 70% is made processing, so to a large extent more UK jobs should be created in gutting, packing, cooking, etc than in just catching them.

Raedwald said...

Ness - good points.

Some sectors of the industry are suggesting that losing access to French ports to sell catches wouldn't be a disaster precisely because of the value-added relationship you quote; we do far, far better processing and selling our catches to eager markets in S Asia etc. than in selling them fresh on a French quayside.

The cost of compensating vessels for short term losses during the adjustment period will be minimal in comparison to long-term gains for the industry. NB David Frost tweeted on the 24th

"Finally, we are ready to work to agree a fisheries agreement which reflects our rights under international law to control our own waters, & provides for annual negotiations over access based on scientific principles. We won't agree to continuing the Common Fisheries Policy."

Which seems pretty much a fixed position.

Nessimmersion said...

Entirely agree.
Longer term - perhaps a post on changing UK from CFP to either the Icelandic or Japanese fisheries management systems, both of which I'm told are fat more sustainable for home fishing fleets.
Could also be a good requirement for any "UK" boat fishing in UK waters to carry UK nationals as crew, scandalous how few Brits have nautical training for a nation once dependant on the sea.

Obligato said...

Sweden has a very high proportion of one person households, might be a factor.

Mark said...

The EU is over but I suspect it will take a long time dying.

We are no longer a member but are effectively one until 31st December. We are negotiating a future relationship with a bureaucratic construct which has just had the starkest king has no clothes moment since the battle of omdurman.

What does this construct - these mandarins - want, what has it ever wanted other than its own survival. It has always been a useful smokescreen for sub bureaucracies- national governments- to push their own agendas, but even that seems to be breaking down.

The only thing to do is to break with it as soon as possible. Surely even the Tories are beginning to see this.

I always wondered what Bernard Connolly meant all those years ago when he said the Euro was a threat to the very peace of Europe.

Span Ows said...

"I always wondered what Bernard Connolly meant all those years ago when he said the Euro was a threat to the very peace of Europe.

He wasn't the only one.