Andy Richardson: 'Behaving responsibly will literally save lives'
If we want to peer into the future, we might look to South Korea.
While we’ve been flirting with top position in the global mortality league, South Korea has been an exemplar of best practice. Low infection and death rates have been a product of effective track and tracing, an early lockdown and its provision of PPE to frontline workers; three things Britain lacked.
As the UK eases lockdown with grandparents finally able to see children, groups of six being allowed to meet in gardens and schools expected to return, it’s instructive to look to South Korea.
A new cluster of outbreaks in the capital, Seoul, has led to the closure of public parks, museums and schools – just days after they reopened to millions of children.
In the UK, the Covid-19 curve has flattened, following a peak in early April. However, it’s much, much too soon to imagine we’ve beaten the virus. We haven’t. While there’s been a relaxation among many – particularly since BoJo turned a blind eye to SuperDom’s day trips – Covid-19 will have a sting in the tail.
Though the weather has changed, our respect for some politicians has diminished and our desire to see friends and family has gone through the roof, these things haven’t changed: There is no herd immunity, there is no vaccine, there are no sure-fire treatments.
The virus remains highly infectious and physical distancing is one of the few weapons we can safely employ. So making sure we behave responsibly and don’t become complacent will literally save lives – though such a message won’t be snappy enough to make it onto the Government’s yellow and green graphics.
Cast your mind back to January and February, when the vast majority imagined Covid-19 would remain in China and not migrate around the world. Cast your mind back to March when it was considered safe enough to stage Champions League football and huge horse racing events.
We didn’t imagine it could happen here, but it did. So those who imagine we’ll be immune to a second spike might look at the lessons of recent history, or our friends and partners around the world.
It’s time to relax, for sure, and we can start thinking about hair salon or barber appointments with men and women who dress like surgeons.
But the basic message hasn’t changed: Stay Apart, Stay Safe.