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Government condemned for shifting blame onto public for worsening Covid crisis

by Lamiat Sabin
Parliamentary Reporter

THE Tory government is seeking to “blame everything and everyone apart from itself” for the worsening Covid-19 crisis, socialists warned today, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson called for “maximum observance” of the rules.

It came after England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty warned during a BBC interview that we will see the “worst of the pandemic” in the coming weeks.

Prof Whitty said there were more than 30,000 people in hospital with Covid-19 on Sunday, compared with about 18,000 at the peak of the first wave in April last year.

He attributed the catastrophic rise to the new more transmissible variant but made no mention of the Tory government’s slowness to act, U-turns and mixed messaging.

Currently, about one in 50 people in England is infected with Covid-19. This increases to one in 30 in London.

Mr Johnson urged the public to observe Covid-19 measures and suggested that the rules could be made stricter.

It came even as he was accused of breaking current guidance to “not travel outside your local area” as he was reportedly spotted cycling in east London’s Olympic Park — seven miles from Downing Street.

But Leeds East MP Richard Burgon told the Morning Star that the government is seeking to “blame everything and everyone apart from itself for the unnecessary loss of tens of thousands of lives and the fact that the virus is out of control.”

The former shadow justice secretary said: “The government is trying to blame the public for an inadequate lockdown when in fact a proper lockdown requires proper financial support.

“The government needs to deliver that support to people — and fast.

“The government is trying to kid the public that everything was fine until the emergence of the new, more infectious mutation. It wasn’t.

“The government, through its inactions and actions and failed strategy, caused this deadly mess.”

In a joint article last week, the Morning Star and Labour MP Diane Abbott backed the adoption of a zero-Covid strategy in Britain, which would be led by guidance from a new zero-Covid coalition. 

Labour MP Mr Burgon urged the government to adopt a zero-Covid strategy, which has successfully suppressed the virus in countries such as New Zealand, South Korea and China.

“That’s the way to save lives and livelihoods,” he said.

Ammar Kazmi, a member of campaign group Socialist Lawyer, said that Prof Whitty has been a “collaborator in the government’s total mishandling of the pandemic.”

“From ‘herd immunity’ to blaming individual members of the public for continued transmission, he has used his respectable ‘scientific’ face to give cover to reckless political decision-making,” he said.

Stop the War officer and People’s Assembly activist Shabbir Lakha criticised the BBC for “uncritically parroting the government and making excuses for them” during Prof Whitty’s interview.

“The BBC is in full propaganda mode on blaming the public at the moment … One reporter said there isn’t much more the government can do, people just aren’t ‘adhering’ [to the rules],” he said.

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