Letters: The Government must be careful not to pursue a ‘cure’ at any cost

A text message from the British Government on a mobile phone alerting people to new rules in force in Britain to tackle coronavirus
A text message from the British Government on a mobile phone alerting people to new rules in force in Britain to tackle coronavirus Credit: DANIEL SORABJI/AFP


SIR – The current situation seems to be the culmination of an obsession with “being seen to be doing something”, regardless of how effectual.

Although the Government laudably tries to follow scientific advice, science does not necessarily deal in certainties. The modelling involved relies on assumptions and priorities. No one knows if the cure – of potentially destroying the private sector, including the millions of small businesses that form the fabric of our society – is going to be far worse than the disease itself.

Barbara Scase
Stanton by Dale, Derbyshire



SIR – This is not “the end of freedom” (report, March 242020欧洲杯小组赛赛程). It is the start of an effort to save lives and curb the activities of those who are currently abusing the freedoms that we cherish.

Catherine Castree
2020欧洲杯小组赛赛程 Fetcham, Surrey


SIR – The Government’s new measures are misguided. The public needs to be brought on side, not with draconian powers but through reason.

The current approach undermines the values of these islands, where people respond to requests but are wary of threats to their freedoms.

Roger Runswick
Chesham, Buckinghamshire



SIR – It’s easy for Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, to blame the public for being selfish. But how would he describe himself for failing to ensure adequate deliveries of protective equipment to essential workers?

We are told by the Prime Minister to put ourselves into lockdown, but that doesn’t mean we should suspend our critical faculties. The lack of testing and the last-minute appeal for more ventilators are examples of incompetence at the highest levels.

Tony Narula FRCS
2020欧洲杯小组赛赛程 Wargrave, Berkshire


SIR – Dr Steven Hopkins (Letters, March 24) believes that the lockdown is taking place because the NHS cannot cope, rather than to protect us.

2020欧洲杯小组赛赛程No healthcare system can or should be designed to cope with such an influx of critically illunwell people – that would mean thousands of ventilators and intensive care beds sitting unused on the off- chance of another pandemic.

Even if we did have all the necessary resources, we would still want to slow the spread of the disease. Invasive ventilation does save lives, but it can take months for patients to return to normal function. These measures are only for our protection.

Dr Beverley Macpherson
2020欧洲杯小组赛赛程 Bath, Somerset



SIR – I found Boris Johnson’s broadcast to be most reassuring.

Dominic Shelmerdine
London SW3


2020欧洲杯小组赛赛程SIR – After the Second World War, Winston Churchill was heavily defeated in the July 1945 general election. Watch out, Mr Johnson.

Alastair Pringle
2020欧洲杯小组赛赛程 Cranbrook, Kent


A role for black cabs


2020欧洲杯小组赛赛程SIR – As representatives of London’s taxi trade, we write to highlight the urgent support black cab drivers need. Due to the coronavirus, we are facing an unprecedented drop in demand for our services. Government advice to work from home and only travel if necessary has rendered more than 20,000 cabbies in London essentially redundant through loss of trade.

Black cab drivers have long been the backbone of London, keeping business and communities moving. Without income, however, cabbies and their families will struggle to pay their bills and to afford finance payments. We need to see tax concessions and financial support for self-employed workers, including London black cab drivers, as a matter of urgency.

2020欧洲杯小组赛赛程Transport services are shutting down, making it harder for key workers to get to work. Panic among shoppers is making deliveries more challenging. Our industry has always helped those in need, and this situation is no different. Whether it is transporting NHS workers or delivering goods to those in need, black cab drivers stand ready and willing to be put to use wherever it is deemed fit.

As an industry, we operate state-of-the-art dispatch, monitor and control systems to record and direct custom-built vehicles, which are designed to be easily cleaned and sterilised, and have a partition between driver and passenger. Individual companies have put programmes in place, but now we ask the Government to work with the cab industry to help put us to best use.

In the event of further restrictions on movement, we also ask that the Government class licensed taxi drivers as key workers, so that we can keep NHS staff and other frontline workers moving quickly and safely during this time of widespread disruption.

Steve McNamara
General Secretary, Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association
Wes Streeting MP (Lab)
Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Taxis
Jim Kelly
Chair, London and Eastern cab section, Unite the Union
Grant Davis
Chairman, London Cab Drivers Club
Trevor Merralls
General Secretary, United Cabbies Group
Joerg Hofmann
CEO, London Electric Vehicle Company
Vandana Prashar
Head of Operations, FREE NOW
Duncan Burgess
Managing Director (UK), Gett
Ashes Moses
2020欧洲杯小组赛赛程 CEO, Sherbet London


Carpe dyem

This could be your chance to try out a new look Credit: Barcroft Media/Barcroft Media

SIR – I disagree with Gordon Moser (Letters, March 232020欧洲杯小组赛赛程), who says that in three weeks we will know everyone’s hair colour. Two of my grandchildren have taken the chance to colour their hair, one green (girl) the other light blonde (boy), hoping that it will have grown out before the schools reopen.

Keith Davies
Telford, Shropshire


Safe shopping

Supermarkets are bringing in restrictions to prevent panic buying Credit: Barcroft Media

SIR – Pamela Goldsack asks how we can keep two metres away from others in a supermarket (Letters, March 24).

2020欧洲杯小组赛赛程We have just returned from a large Waitrose store. The maximum number of customers allowed in store at any one time was 35, with a one- in- one- out policy. Staff were outside the shop managing queues and insisting on at least two metres between customers.

2020欧洲杯小组赛赛程The system worked very well, and at no time did we come close to other shoppers either in or outside the shop.

Peter Higgins
West Wickham, Kent


SIR – The rationing system being introduced by stores isn’t helpful to friends or relatives who shop for housebound people, as the shopper has to use their own allocation to obtain the goods. This may explain why shoppers are going back for more (Letters, March 20).

2020欧洲杯小组赛赛程We are encouraged to shop online but every slot is taken, with no priority for the elderly. I know one supermarket chain claims to have a system, but you would need to be a genius to make it work. We are lucky that  friends and family provide us with our support network, but I pity the poor souls who are trying to cope alone.

Finally, although there a number of relevant organisations will be aware that my wife and I are in our 80s, the only contact we’ve had is from the council – to tell us that our rates have gone up.

Ray Gillard
London E4


SIR – My husband and I are both over 70 , and we are wondering how we should register with Sainsbury’s online service when it only gives one telephone number is supplied, and which is always engaged.

J McTighe
2020欧洲杯小组赛赛程 Sherborne, Dorset


SIR – As an independent and active 76-year-old I usually hate the term “elderly”.

However, in a shop queue yesterday, a member of staff approached and asked me if I would like to come inside. She said she wasn’t sure whether to ask, but I replied: “Yes, I am elderly.” Sometimes it does pay.

Cynthia Denby
2020欧洲杯小组赛赛程 Edgware, Middlesex


Escape to the country

A traffic sign that also speaks for large parts of the country who resent incomers from cities Credit: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images Europe

SIR – The excuses made by Lord Rose and Caroline Barrett (reports, March 22 and 23) for moving to their rural second homes to escape Covid- 19 are selfish in the extreme.

2020欧洲杯小组赛赛程Our elderly and vulnerable friends, who are long-standing residents of Aldeburgh, are having to cope with an influx of non-permanent residents who are overwhelming the already scarce local resources. Small supermarkets, pharmacies and medical services, cannot cope.

Terry Fossett
Corby Glen, Lincolnshire


2020欧洲杯小组赛赛程SIR – I am very disappointed by the attitude of local inhabitants in areas where there are second-home owners. It is Nimbyism at its worst.

2020欧洲杯小组赛赛程I live in the country and believe second-home owners who live in cities should move to these homes. Yes, they should self-isolate for 14 days. Then, when clear, they will put less strain on city medical services and contribute economically to the local community.

Richard G Faber
Shefford Woodlands, Berkshire


Sick of the new

SIR – Am I alone in wishing for a return to precedented times?,

Phil Mobbs
2020欧洲杯小组赛赛程 Windermere, Cumbria


A feathered friend to brighten self-isolation

St Bartholomew`s Church, Greens Norton, Northamptonshire Credit: Colin Underhill / Alamy Stock Photo

SIR – I am 94 and, like many others, am facing weeks of isolation with my wife.

2020欧洲杯小组赛赛程I think I am more fortunate than most, however, as I have made a new friend, who I meet in the garden every morning.

She is a hen pheasant, and takes her breakfast gracefully from my hand as we discuss the problems facing the world. She is a good listener and time passes quickly until 8 o’clock, when we part.

My advice to others in my situation is that there are 160 million potential friends out there in Britain.

Antony Mackenzie-Smith
2020欧洲杯小组赛赛程 Abergavenny, Monmouthshire


Foraging bumblebees behave in the same way as serial killers hunting new victims, scientists have found Credit: Clara Molden /PA

SIR – Little things, like a large bumble bee flying in through our patio door, are now giving us great pleasure and new sources of conversation.

Sheina Burns
Shaw, Lancashire


SIR – At 72, my wife had probably had her loneliest birthday on Monday. However, she has never had so many friendly phone calls, texts or emails.

Never mind the greedy shoppers: this is yet another example of our Britain’s caring society.

Dave Alsop
2020欧洲杯小组赛赛程 Churchdown, Gloucestershire


Princess Diana helping a very young Prince William do a puzzle in 1985 Credit: Tim Graham/Getty Images

SIR – In the early Fifties I was given a jigsaw puzzle for my birthday. For 65 years it has been stored at the back of various cupboards, unopened.

However, its time to shine came on Sunday. Pieces are now strewn over the dining room table, and my husband and I have many hours of enjoyment (or frustration) ahead thanks to great auntie Gerty’s gift.

Jennifer Grover
2020欧洲杯小组赛赛程 Kingshill, Buckinghamshire


SIR – I can now get on with finishing Europe: A History by Norman Davies.

2020欧洲杯小组赛赛程I got to page 267 a while ago, so only about 950 pages left.

John M Scott
Aspley Guise, Bedfordshire


Travellers are at the mercy of chaotic airlines

Most British Airways flights have been grounded Credit:  Simon Dawson/Reuters

SIR – I am currently in South Africa. I have read with interest the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab’s advice that I travel home as soon as possible (report, March 24).

2020欧洲杯小组赛赛程Unfortunately, I am travelling with British Airways. So far, it has cancelled four of the flights I have booked – the last one, 45 minutes after I had rebooked on the flight it advised me to take. Needless to say, it is impossible to get hold of anyone at British Airways.

Under such circumstances, how are we meant to follow the advice to return home? Does British Airways not feel that it has some duty of care to customers who have bought return tickets from them?

Seán Bellew
2020欧洲杯小组赛赛程 Cape Town, South Africa


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