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From The Socialist newspaper, 22 April 2020

Coronavirus

National plan for testing needed

photo Creative Commons, photo Creative Commons

photo Creative Commons   (Click to enlarge)

Testing everybody in a northern Italian village of 3,000 people saw those with Covid-19 fall 90% within ten days. People testing positive, with or without symptoms, were isolated so they didn't infect others. This shows why testing is vital.

The Tory government's failure to test at the scale needed causes many severe illnesses and deaths.

Health and care workers urgently need weekly testing. Those with mild symptoms, but without Covid, could work. Covid carriers without symptoms isolate, protecting patients and colleagues.

When China's first cases were identified in late December, pandemic contingency plans here should have been opened. They should have rolled into action after Britain's first case was confirmed in late January.

On 19 April, the number of tests performed was still only 5,522 per million people (compared to Germany's 20,786). South Korea has over 600 mobile test centres. The UK has 22, meaning two hour drives for many.

Health secretary Matt Hancock wrings his hands and says: "We have the best scientific labs in the world but we did not have the scale. My German counterpart for instance could call upon 100 testing labs ready and waiting when the crisis struck."

Not until the end of March did the government announce it would recruit laboratories from universities, research institutes and private companies. Why not early February?

The Institute of Biomedical Science, representing 17,000 NHS laboratory workers, says the problem is not insufficient labs but swabs, plastic tubes and chemicals. There is a global shortage. The government's early complacency left them at the back of the queue.

Years of austerity cuts mean NHS labs rely on a few non-domestic suppliers, such as giant corporation Roche. 'Efficient' in normal times, but these are not normal times! Most universities can make the chemicals required.

Julian Peto, a respected epidemiologist, estimates there are enough machines in the UK for ten million daily tests - everybody weekly - obtaining supplies directly from manufacturers rather than clinical test companies.

A national plan is needed, drawn up by NHS, university, biotechnology and other workers through their trade unions, to mobilise all the resources needed for a huge increase in testing. Test, isolate and contact trace to exit lockdown until vaccines are widely available!

Jon Dale, secretary Unite union Nottinghamshire NHS branch (personal capacity)

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 22 April 2020:


Frontline workers speak out

Where's our PPE? Where's our testing? Where's our money?

London bus drivers' action over safety stops front door boarding

Care homes coronavirus scandal: blood on their hands

PPE shortages: "I feel so bloody angry"

Trade union activists from across the south of England discuss the battle for safety on the frontline

Management tells carers PPE would 'worry' residents

Councils must demand control of supplies and reversal of austerity

More dispatches from the front: 'There are so many more patients dying'


World economy

World economic crisis: A Marxist approach to the coronavirus crunch


Workplace news

No 'back to school' until outbreak is under control and trade union agreed safety arrangements

DWP: Action on workers' safety, and protection of pay and conditions needed

JD Sports: Shut up shop and give us full pay!

RMT: Lift the suspension of Steve Hedley

Bromley Libraries 'restructure' in middle of pandemic!


Lenin at 150

Lenin at 150: A revolutionary life - and the relevance of his ideas to today's working-class struggles


Coronavirus news

National plan for testing needed

Capitalist press attacks Tory incompetence

Tory think tank proposes attack on pensions

Shocking increase in domestic violence killings

US private healthcare system in meltdown

Coronavirus news in brief


Workplace safety

The history of struggle to make the workplace safe


Campaigns

Excellent support for Socialist Party special appeal

Why I joined the Socialist Party

Clapping, driving, postering - for workers' rights

The role of the Socialist during the corona crisis

Policies that really protect the NHS

Coronavirus: Students' charter

Socialism the Podcast: What do our listeners think?


Readers' opinion

Covid-19 patient speaks out: fantastic support from under-resourced health workers

Going viral: Socialist comments and letters


 

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