The track and trace failure must be addressed urgently
10 September, 2020
HOWEVER deeply run the levels of incompetence of the government, the redeeming argument is that it is facing, along with all governments in developed economies, a crisis the world has never had to face in recent centuries.
Matt Hancock’s latest crackdown on social gatherings is possibly the beginning of another kind of lockdown, and as autumn begins it makes sense of this mysterious assault by Covid-19.
Far East Asian countries – Vietnam, China, Korea and Japan – are able to cope much better with a virus that is here for the next year or so at least.
Their civilisations and cultures are much less atomised and individualised than European cultures and thus much more able to collectively deal with the disease.
Here, in fragmented industrialised economies in Europe, the solution lies more with the benefits of a vaccine.
Scientists accept that here – as do many leading researchers in the Far East. But realistically that means that though a vaccine may be successfully trialled by the end of the year or the early months of 2021, the nation will still need to build an efficient track and trace system – which it has palpably failed to do so far – and deal with the fallout of a collapsing economy.
It doesn’t matter as to the degree of competence of the government at one level, commonsense alone dictates that some kind of government-directed intervention in the economy is the only means to keep it afloat.
In Germany, and other European countries, governments are continuing state aid in grants and subsidies to employers and employees.
Murmurings are now being heard in Britain among leading companies that the furlough scheme should go beyond October – and not end then as announced previously by the Chancellor.
Unless society is turned upside down and inside out with new horizons beckoning to a different future, we need pragmatically to accept that controlled state aid, invested with care, is the only way to stave off a crisis before it reaches a tipping point.
There are high-minded thinkers waiting in the wings of a government that may begin to totter sooner than is thought.
Sir Keir Starmer is going in the right direction in opposition but will need greater verve and conviction to succeed in the event of a sharper and more popular politician such as Rishi Sunak coming on the scene.