Tag: fault

Don’t blame the government for its handling of Covid. It’s our fault, apparently

At the weekend I went to Broadway Market in east London for the first time in seven months, because – and you don’t need to know this, but I’m telling you anyway – I became semi-obsessed with some walnut saucisson I saw tagged there on Instagram, and emerged blinking and pale from my hole just to find some. I’m glad I did, because the entire venture felt like a normal-world autumnal thing to be doing: shuffling round a food market in a long coat, holding a slightly overpriced latte someone made with an imported Japanese machine, marvelling at small, aesthetically bred pedigree dogs, looking at a vintage trinket stall and considering if I want to have a copper diving helmet in my house (no): revelling in that gorgeous early Saturday afternoon ritual of slowly deciding that you want a pint.



a person holding a sign: Photograph: Amer Ghazzal/REX/Shutterstock


© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Amer Ghazzal/REX/Shutterstock

For a moment I felt normal, and then I gazed out over the crowd and the intrusive thought came back into my head: “Guh, they should all be at home! Covidiots!”

That phrase, GTSABAH! C!, has been in my brain more or less on a loop since April, when the first clench of lockdown loosened just an inch, and people went tentatively to the park, and other people – let’s be honest, snitches – took photos of them there, and tweeted those photos and sent them to the newspapers, which then presented small clusters of people quietly eating a 99 on a park bench in the same way you or I might regard a war crime. Ever since then I’ve been careful not to find myself in too big a crowd out in public, because it only takes one person with a wide-angle lens and there I am, trapped in the same nonchalant, angular pose as Bigfoot in that photo, a super-spreader criminal with a rapidly melting Feast halfway up to his nose, damned online for ever. So mostly, I’ve stayed indoors.

This would be fine if the public didn’t still blame me for, well, coronavirus. As YouGov found this week, the wider public – ie the victims of, and necessarily the spreaders of, coronavirus – predominantly blame each other for the crisis and not – random example – the government that has overseen a succession of calamitous cronyism and policy failures on a thrice-weekly basis since March. Of 1,972 adults surveyed, 53% hold the public (that is: themselves) responsible for the rise in coronavirus cases over the past month, with only 28% pointing their (freshly washed, for 20 seconds or more) finger at the government. Split that data by voting intention, and 78% of Conservative voters blame the public, with only 7% mad at the government. Labour voters went 29% public, 55% government. As for leave voters, 71% said public, 14% government, while remain went for the most balanced split: 42% public, 43% government.



a person holding a sign: ‘YouGov found that the wider public predominantly blame each other for the crisis and not, random example, the government that has overseen a succession of policy failures.’


© Photograph: Amer Ghazzal/REX/Shutterstock
‘YouGov found that the wider public predominantly blame each other for the

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Coronavirus latest: UK cases surge as government says technical fault affects testing data

Jasmine Cameron-Chileshe in London

The number of positive coronavirus cases within the UK surged again on Sunday, with the government admitting that “technical” issues had caused delays in the publication of test results.

A record 22,961 new coronavirus cases were confirmed on Sunday, an increase of more than 10,000 compared with 12,872 on Saturday.

The government said a technical issue had been identified overnight on Friday “in the automated process that transfers positive cases data” to Public Health England.

As a result, the number of coronavirus cases announced on Saturday and Sunday included 15,841 additional cases from between September 25 and Friday. Last night, the government said that the issue, though resolved, would affect case numbers in the next few days.

A message on the coronavirus data dashboard on Saturday warned that data published in the next few days would “include some additional cases” from between September 24 and October 1.

In an interview with BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, UK prime minister Boris Johnson argued that government testing data was still “reliable” and called the recent problems a “computing error.”

He said: “All the people who had a positive test have now been notified and I think the data that we have is realistic, and again it’s very useful in helping us to identify you know where the incidence is and what we need to do to tackle it.”

Boris Johnson, left, is interviewed by the BBC’s Andrew Marr on Sunday

Mr Johnson defended his testing system, arguing that while it was not “perfect” and he remained “frustrated” with it, testing had “made a huge difference” to the government’s ability to track the virus’ growth.

“I think by international comparators it is really very, very good indeed and yes it could be a lot better, but we’re going to get a lot better. And by the way they’re going to get up to 500,000 tests a day by the end of this month,” he added.

The latest figures follow growing criticism from Labour who have accused the government of “serial incompetence” and have called for greater “clarity”.

Speaking to Andrew Marr ahead of Mr Johnson’s interview, shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth argued that the testing system was “simply not working” and said the lockdown rules appeared to “chop and change all over the place.”

He said: “We support local restrictions, but what people want is clarity… So we need clarity on why an area goes into restrictions, clarity on how an area gets out of restrictions.”

Mr Ashworth said local authorities should have control over the testing system and the tracing system. “The Serco call centre is simply not working. In Bradford, in Oldham it’s around 50 per cent of contacts are getting traced. No wonder they’re failing to get on top of the infection.”

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