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Why no virus testing?

I am no health expert but the NHS advice in relation to Covid-19 seems patently mistaken. It tells you to stay at home when you start showing symptoms. It says that if you are at home you don’t need testing. This is ridiculous since it means that neither the government nor the NHS will know how many people have got it. Moreover, if you have got it then you will likely have infected some people you have come into contact with prior to the symptoms emerging.

The government’s action plan (March 3rd) said that they were following advice from the WHO. Yet the WHO is saying that mass testing is a key component in trying to stop the spread of the virus. In contrast the government says it will not be testing people with mild symptoms. But the mild symptoms that you may have will impact on other people differently and may ultimately kill somebody who is old or frail.

This means that the government does not think it’s important to know who has got the virus. This is a recipe for its wider spread and for a higher number of deaths.

In my opinion there needs to be mass testing in order to determine who has and hasn’t acquired it. Ultimately the wider the spread the more deaths. Current government policy threatens to facilitate a higher death rate.

The wider the spread the more people will have to be hospitalised. That’s where we come up against the impact of many years of cuts in the NHS. There are just over 4,000 adult acute care beds in the UK. The NHS target is an 85 per cent occupancy rate. So the available beds would only be somewhere in the region of 600. Aware of this the NHS is discussing using operating theatres and recovery rooms for those who need to be hospitalised. Some professionals are saying that we need 28,000 acute care beds.

Boris Johnson’s comment warning us that many people will lose loved ones “before their time” is not leadership but fatalism. Leadership requires taking every action to minimise the number of deaths. In order to do that the government needs to follow the advice of the WHO outlined in the comments of its director: “Our message to countries continues to be: you must take a comprehensive approach.

Not testing alone. Not contact tracing alone. Not quarantine alone. Not social distancing alone. Do it all. Any country that looks at the experience of other countries with large epidemics and thinks ‘that won’t happen to us is making a deadly mistake. The experience of China, the Republic of Korea, Singapore and others clearly demonstrates that aggressive testing and contact tracing, with social distancing and community mobilization, can prevent infections and save lives.”

Martin Wicks, Welcombe Avenue

SAS won’t keep me in

All over seventies confined to the house for months. Quite honestly you could not make it up. May I suggest to the powers that be. That they deploy a twelve man armed SAS unit outside my front door. Because that is the only force that will keep me in. Although my little Westie has gone I still walk two hours a day. After enduring the harsh wet cold winter nights, am I to be denied the spring and summer outdoors that beckon on the horizon of our normally inclement little island nation.

The problems that such a ludicrous government enforcement would bring, beggar belief. No dog walking, no allotments attended. No necessary hospital visits or essential shopping visits, no bingo for our Ladies. God forbid. On the bright side no court appearance if we refuse to pay the TV licence. Sorry Boris, I hope it is still a free country my ancestors fought and died for, I will take my chances and get on with my life as usual, surely my choice in a democratic country.

Bill Williams, Merlin Way

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