The Gross Negligence of Our Government | Simone Hanna

Written pieces are usually made with the intention of graceful ageing, but this time two months ago when I criticised the government’s failures, I can genuinely say that I did not ever predict this outcome, and remain deeply disturbed by the sheer incompetence of the people our nation put their trust in. I did not predict for a second that two months later our borders would still be open, all whilst British people were ordered to stay home, face police scrutiny for walking their dogs, and endure fines for sitting in parks.

From the 1st of January to the 23rd of March, 18 million people were permitted to enter this country. Put this into perspective: during lockdown, 10-15 thousand people have been permitted to enter each day. This has included arrivals from Covid-19 hotspots. It is truly abhorrent; our leaders must take us for fools. They have acted poorly in this and I cannot see why there is not more public scrutiny over the gross negligence of our leaders.

It was reported last Thursday that the UK was one of the only countries in the world not restricting arrivals or enforcing health checks at airports. Despite having the second highest Covid-19 death toll in the world, (under the unlikely assumption that China is honest about their numbers, I must add) there have been no limitations on passengers arriving from the outside. Most countries have been restrictive to all foreigners, many using Australia and New Zealand as comparisons, both having considerably low rates of Covid-19 compared to other countries, and yet, here we are mid-May, our borders still open.

In February when coronavirus rates were still few in the UK, Health Secretary Matt Hancock stated that the government were ‘following the science’ and that border controls would do very little. The following month, countries with less restrictive border controls such as Italy, Spain, France, and Germany had higher numbers of Covid-19 when compared to countries with stronger border controls such as Israel, Poland, Hungary, and Russia. Even at this point, the UK border was still open.

The government made very little effort to prevent this illness from entering our land; even in early March when Italy was becoming a coronavirus hotspot, flights from the country were still able to land and people entering would go unchecked, free to potentially spread a virus we knew was deadly.

Polls in April showed that 2/3 of the UK thought the coronavirus response was too slow and inadequate, yet the government made no effort to be stricter with border controls or enforce health checks, in fact, it was only late April that the Government began to consider two week checks for those entering the country, something that has only been implemented recently.

Photo by Number 10 on Flickr.

In a health briefing at that time, Matt Hancock stated that science showed the material impact outside of healthcare meant that ‘face masks should be saved for those in health and care who really need them’. Now, in May, the government are advising British people to ‘use face protection where possible.’ The government have acted foolishly, our lives have been in their hands and they have been terribly unclear, yet, you cannot question this without being shunned for ‘politicising the virus’.

Now, I was a little cautious over writing this, the last time I wrote a more ‘anti-Boris’ piece, I was accused of being ‘anti-British’. This could not be further from the truth. I love this nation; I love the people in it, and, for that, I am infuriated by the lack of measures taken to protect them. It is more than necessary to question and scrutinise the people that are set to lead us, especially when precious lives are in their hands. I empathise with the British people who cannot see loved ones, cannot work, access their full education, miss vital healthcare appointments; it is those people I care about. The victims of an atrocity they had no control over.

Control is, however, something our government could have had. For that, I have an unfortunate newsflash for some of you: this virus is a political issue whether you like it or not. People are going to politicise this issue; it is in the right of every one of us to be infuriated, our government have acted poorly. This government’s failures have cost the lives of British people, their family members, people that had years left and plenty of potential. The government can try now, they can attempt to compensate, but absolutely no amount of compensation will ever make up for the loss of a loved one.

Are we really expected to sit here and believe stricter borders and enforced health checks would not have prevented someone’s unnecessary passing? Do our leaders take us for fools?

I cannot believe that two months later I am having to write about the same lack of care. It feels as if the horse has bolted from the stable, yet we leave the gates unlocked whilst we try and search for it. It is atrocious, I am furious on the behalf of this country and the generation that will follow mine. Prior actions taken may have been a little; but a little can be a lot.

We must now all suffer the consequences.

Photo by Chad Davis on Flickr.

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