The objectives of this plan are:
. get our economy back up and running as soon as possible
. allow as many people’s lives to return to normal, as soon as possible,
. whilst still saving as many lives as possible.
Three main principles underpin “Plan 2021″.
i) It is imperative to return personal freedoms, choices and responsibilities.
No longer will the state attempt to keep everyone safe, through a series of ever more detailed, complex, draconian and strictly enforced laws,
– it will instead provide, or oversee the provision, of an environment where people are able to protect themselves, and their family/friends, to a degree of their choosing.
At this stage of the pandemic, the UK public has more than sufficient knowledge to make informed choices regarding their future behaviour.
We controlled levels of the virus in our communities very successfully for some period of time after most of the initial lockdown restrictions were lifted.
Encouraging high levels of personal responsibility was the key to this success.
The so-called Second Wave initiated when the state began to reassume responsibility for controlling the spread of the virus, starting with cloth face masks being mandated in most indoor public environments,
– as a result, a large swathe of the population suddenly switched to operating on the principle that as long as they placed a piece of cloth over their nose and mouth when doing their weekly shop…
– they could largely forget about increased hand hygiene, social distancing, taking sensible precautions, and return to their “pre-Covid19 lifestyle”.
Very little need to worry about taking personal responsibility for preventing the spread of the virus, the state, and a piece of rarely if ever washed, very probably infected cloth, would do it all for them.
As the state has introduced ever more restrictions, the spread of the virus has continued largely unabated. Brief pauses have been achieved through extremely punitive, very strict lockdown measures, but only at a huge cost.
The UK populations is fed up with government determined and enforced restrictions. I believe most people have now begun to adopt a very simple policy towards them,
– obey the ones that are publicly visible and can be policed, ignore the rest.
So most dutifully put on their face masks when doing their shopping, and then quietly visit their family members, in different households, on the way home.
The continual attempts by government to legislate over every aspect of citizens’ lives makes crystal clear how little trust it has in them,
– “we the people” have reciprocated by abandoning almost all trust in our government.
Something has to change…
We need to return freedoms to people, provide them with options, and return to allowing them use their own judgement,
– to make their own choices, and take personal responsibility for them.
ii) Two things are now available which were not when the pandemic began:
. cheap, easily accessible tests, with almost instant results
. highly effective vaccines
The accuracy of tests is improving, but still has a way to go, at the time of writing (Jan 2021), vaccines are being rapidly rolled out to those in the most vulnerable groups.
We are not going to be able to vaccinate the entire population in a short space of time, even if the entire population wanted to receive a vaccine, Which we know it won’t.
It will very likely take most of 2021 to vaccinate the vast majority of our population.
iii) We cannot continue to periodically shut down large parts of the UK economy during this time.
There will need to be a short “set up period” to prepare for Plan 2021.
Once this has been completed, this is how I believe “Plan 2021” could work:
(Note: all percentages are just “for example”, the numbers will vary by region and quickly change to fit local demand)
Hospitals: Nightingale hospitals should be where all Covid-19 patients are treated. All other ailments will be treated as previously, in existing hospitals.
It’s not acceptable for people who have other illnesses, to catch Covid-19 in hospital.
These hospitals would also be available as a temporary overflow facility to allow Care Homes to revise they way they operate. See below.
Supermarket chains: 50% of stores continue to operate with enforced mask wearing, hand sanitising, social distancing, protective screens etc, “Covid secure”,
– 50% without.
The pubic will choose where they shop, staff will be permitted to transfer with no penalty between stores.
To reiterate, these percentages can, and must change over time, ie as more people become confident that there is zero need for mask wearing, the number of shops not mandating them should rise, until at some stage it returns to 100%.
This confidence will build as Covid-19 herd immunity (the percentage of the population who are immune to contracting it, either due to a previous infection, or having been vaccinated) steadily builds.
Small, independent shops: will choose how they operate, “one in one out”, masks/no mask required, the degree of Covid-19 security adopted, in consultation with their staff.
The public choose where they wish to shop, if they wish to shop in these shops.
Pubs, restaurants, bars, gyms, hairdressers etc 50% initially operate as they used to do in 2019, 50% continue to operate with the highest possible Covid security measures, whilst still allowing them to function as a viable business.
Customers will be fully aware of the level of Covid-19 security being adopted inside before entering any premises, and will do so at their own risk. Staff permitted to transfer wherever possible and they wish to do so.
Where small businesses are involved, and perhaps only operate one pub or restaurant, staff would be consulted as to the level of Covid-19 security which the business should adopt.
(In the event of a dispute, the higher level would be “the default”,
– and any staff who felt strongly that they would rather work in a lower level of Covid-19 security environment,
– would need to resign/find alternative employment in an establishment which is operating in this manner locally).
These employees will at least have the opportunity under “Plan 2021” to do this, and not simply be forced to wear a face mask all day, every day).
Cinemas and Theatres : 50% to initially operate with strict virus control measures, 50% operate as they did in 2019. Similar principles to apply for customers and staff as for supermarkets, pubs etc.
Care Homes: Staff live on site wherever possible, and are compensated accordingly. Staff not permitted to work in more than one Care Home.
All Care Homes will be required to operate safe, supervised, non-contact outdoor visits.
Residents who wish to have indoor, close contact visits from family, will be permitted to do so,
– but for the safety of other residents,
– only on the condition that they consent to residing in a quarantine section of the Home until it can be confirmed that no infection has occurred.
If they have become infected, will be taken and treated at the nearest Nightingale hospitals.
Government covers all costs of Covid Tests and PPE in Care Homes.
Care workers visiting private homes: tested every day, provided with PPE, expected to use only high Covid-19 secure shops, pubs, restaurants etc if they have not been vaccinated.
Sports Stadia : 50% operate as in 2019, 50% with social distancing, enhanced “covid secure” measures, hand sanitising on entry etc.
Club level sports: sensible precautions which don’t dramatically impact the play continue to be enforced, participation continues at individuals’ own risk.
Public transport: 50% rule. Alternate trains and buses require masks / won’t require them. Those vaccinated, may travel on any/all.
Social interaction: The ridiculously arbitrary “Rule of 6” will be scrapped, instead we will return to how we have always dealt with infectious viruses in the past,
– use Common Sense and take personal responsibility for your actions.
eg If you have just attended a social event with a large number of people, or perhaps taken a long journey on a crowded train, wait a week and take a rapid (“Lateral Flow”) test before visiting your grandmother.
If you work in a office, or factory where there is an outbreak of the virus, you would not visit your grandmother until testing confirmed it was over.
Multi generational homes: Where younger generations are living with elderly people,
– they would be expected to act responsibly, and only visit pubs, cinemas, theatres, sports stadia where high levels of Covid-19 security were in place, until the elder generation had been vaccinated.
These measures reintroduce personal choice and responsibility, will return as many people’s lives to normal as possible, as quickly as possible, and will get the economy rapidly fully back up and running again,
– whilst allowing the most vulnerable in society to protect themselves, where they wish to be protected.
Herd immunity will build up steadily through a combination of people with low vulnerability contracting the virus, and the most vulnerable being vaccinated.
Treating Covid-19 patients exclusively in Nightingale Hospitals will allow all the others to very rapidly return to normal operation, allowing even more lives to be saved.
There will be some significant initial costs involved, but these will be massively less than the cost of continuing to repeatedly shut down large sections of the UK economy.