Shropshire Star

Star comment: We are now better prepared over bird flu threat

We should not be alarmed by the latest updates on bird flu. Instead we should be reassured that it is being monitored so carefully.

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Experts have revealed how it has jumped from birds to mammals. That means that humans are also in danger of catching it.

It does not mean we are heading for a new Covid, unless the very worst scenario becomes a reality. These outbreaks have happened countless times through history, sometimes with an impact to humans, sometimes not.

Now we have the benefit of modern technology and know-how – especially after the steep learning curve of Covid. That means we are better armed to be warned of any possible pandemic and also have more knowledge on how to deal with it.

The truth is that animals and birds are as susceptible to outbreaks of illness as humans were when the pandemic struck. In their case, of course, they do not have the benefit of lockdown measures or vaccinations and populations can very quickly be decimated.

While the consequences for livestocks holders and for the natural environment can be severe, an even greater concern is the impacts arising when such illnesses spread to human beings.

We should take comfort from the fact that scientists are assiduously monitoring the situation and making sure they keep on top of the detail. We must stay one step ahead and ensure that the very, very minor risks remain just that. Should there be a risk to human life, we need to know quickly and to have done prior planning so that we are prepared to act with great urgency to minimise the threat to human life and contain any unwanted outbreak.


It’s hardly quantum physics. You offer people more choice of non-alcoholic drinks and they will buy more.

New research reveals online shoppers buy fewer alcoholic drinks when presented with an increased selection of non-alcoholic options.

The fact is that it has never been easier to enjoy a night out without drinking. Not only has the choice and quality of non-alcoholic beers, wines and spirits improved, but attitudes have too. Many will now choose to abstain, without the fear of peer-pressure. And it is perfectly normal now to order a coffee in a pub as it is a pint of beer.

We are becoming more diverse socially. The more choices we have the better so that everyone can socialise in the way they want to. Providing a wider selection is one way in which we can cut down the nation’s unhealthy predilection for drinking too much.