The crisis will not be over until the virus is in check worldwide

A Brent Council worker hangs a direction sign to the NHS Covid Vaccine Centre at the Olympic Office

- Credit: PA

Should current "roadmap" plans continue, Hornsey Pensioners Action Group can meet in public on June 16.

It will be a relief to meet face-to-face after more than a year communicating only by monthly bulletins and telephone calls.

However, last year, we urged caution when easing of lockdown was suggested. We wanted scientific advice to be followed and still do. The scientists serving on the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) deserve our respect.

One member of SAGE, Susan Michie, is subject to scurrilous attacks, possibly triggered by her criticisms of current practice that she considers not sufficiently rigorous. Her comments in the Guardian on February 21 were: "We still do not have a well-functioning test, trace and supported isolation system, and many of those who must self-isolate are offered no financial or practical assistance. Our borders are leaky: although those arriving from countries on a 'red list' must quarantine in a managed hotel for 10 days, people are still arriving from countries where variants are unknown."

Janet Shapiro - Hornsey Pensioners Action Group

Janet Shapiro - Credit: Janet Shapiro

Her comments are still valid although we may have a “red list” soon. She also warns that Covid-19 is an international problem. Even in developed countries, the crisis will not be over until the virus is in check worldwide. This is confirmed by recent events in India.


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Yet this eminent scientist is persecuted through the press and social media – no debate, just mudslinging for her political affiliations. Her opponents want regulations lifted, but what are their vested interests?

Lockdown has caused damage, not just economic. Children have missed schooling, young people’s career and studies have been interrupted and older people isolated. There are concerns about worsening levels of mental ill-health.

To boost the economy the government would do well to heed the advice of the Women’s Budget Group: wbg.org.uk/commission/. Their research, published last June, indicated that an investment in care, compared with an equivalent investment in construction, would result in three times the increase in employment levels.

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We would welcome much needed investment in care. This would help the economy and yield other benefits for our general well-being.

Janet Shapiro represents Hornsey Pensioners Action Group.

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