/ Health

How do you feel about the reopening across the UK?

With gyms, pubs, and restaurants able to reopen in England, are you returning to your local shops? Or are you sticking with shopping from home?

19/07/2021: Almost all restrictions removed

We’ve reached the final stage of the government’s lockdown lifting roadmap: from today nearly all legal restrictions on social contact will be lifted, though guidance will still remain in place.

Some of the changes from today:

🗓 In England: the ‘rule of six’ for meeting inside and ‘one-metre plus’ requirement for spacing in pubs and restaurants will be dropped. Masks are no longer required by law, but people are still advised to wear them.

🗓 Scotland moves into Level 0, with more restrictions in place on social contact, face coverings still legally mandated, and working from home where possible is still advised.

Face coverings will still be mandatory in some places, such as on London’s transport network, and other shops and businesses have started to announce their policies.

Are you in favour of the relaxing of coronavirus restrictions from 19 July?
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How do you feel about the rules being relaxed further? Will you be relaxing your own precautions, or will you continue to observe social distancing and wearing face coverings?

What conditions would make it safe for you to return to the kinds of social contact you enjoyed before the pandemic?

17/05/2021: Further restrictions lifted

Further lockdown rules have lifted in England, Scotland and Wales today with indoor socialising, larger outdoor gatherings and hugging permitted in England and Scotland.

Pubs and restaurants are also now able to open indoors – are you keen to pay them a visit?

How are you feeling about this new stage of restrictions easing? Do you have concerns over further COVID-19 variants potentially preventing or reversing lockdown restrictions?

Let us know in the comments.

14/04/2021: How do you feel about reopening?

The UK moved one step closer to lifting lockdown restrictions this week:

🗓 Pubs and restaurants have now opened for outdoor table service in England, with Wales and Scotland following on 26 April (subject to data).

🗓 Hairdressers and barbers are open for appointments in England, Scotland, and Wales. Walk-ins are also now permitted in England. They remain closed in Northern Ireland.

🗓 Many non-essential shops, and some public buildings such as libraries and community centres are now able to reopen in England. Restrictions in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland will vary, but some shops have been able to reopen or resume click-and-collect services.

While eased somewhat, restrictions and timeframes will vary depending on where you are in the UK.   

See what restrictions are in place in your area

Flocking back or staying home?

Reopening has seemed pretty normal in my area, all things considered. It was nice to walk by the local pub and see the caution tape and barricades blocking off the car parks and patios were replaced with people enjoying themselves. Further down my high street, I saw people sitting outside of Costa, and a man visibly excited to finally be getting his hair seen to in a barber.  

There were still masks, face coverings, distancing – it seemed pretty sensible from where I was standing at least.  

On the other hand, it’s easy see why people would be concerned about social distancing and potential further spread as people cram into smaller outdoor dining areas, or queue for shops:

How do you feel about reopening?

Have you been out again following the easing of lockdown restrictions in England and Wales? 

Which non-essential shop have you missed the most during the winter lockdown?
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What’s it like to shop in-store again?  Are you seeing long queues or other restrictions on entry?  

Are people still socially distancing and wearing masks, or has the easing of restrictions caused others to behave differently?  

What concerns do you have about the easing of restrictions? Do you feel that you’ll retain any of your lockdown shopping habits as restrictions ease? 


From New Scientist one hour ago:

“More than 1200 scientists have now backed a letter in the journal The Lancet saying that the UK’s plan to lift most coronavirus restrictions in England on 19 July is an “unethical experiment”, which poses a serious threat to the rest of the world. The letter argues that lifting restrictions at a time when infection rates are rising could increase the chance of new vaccine-resistant coronavirus variants emerging. “Because of our position as a global travel hub, any variant that becomes dominant in the UK will likely spread to the rest of the globe,” Christina Pagel at University College London said during an emergency summit of scientists and doctors on 16 July.

Public health leaders from around the world joined in the criticism of the UK’s plan. “In New Zealand we have always looked to the UK for leadership when it comes to scientific expertise, which is why it’s so remarkable that it is not following even basic public health principles,” said Michael Baker at the University of Otago, a member of the New Zealand health ministry’s covid-19 technical advisory group. José Martin-Moreno at the University of Valencia, a senior adviser to the World Health Organization (WHO), said: “We cannot understand why this is happening in spite of the scientific knowledge that you have.”

England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty warned that covid-19 hospitalisations were doubling every three weeks and advised people to be cautious after restrictions are lifted on 19 July.”

Thanks Ian. I wonder how many scientists supported what is planned. The warning by Chris Whitty was well publicised.

This rather assumes that all in England will abandon precautions. I will not be among them, and I hope many others will join me.

Perhaps. but as you yourself admit many will assume everything is okay and throw caution to the wind.

I realise that we’re in a very fortunate position, living where we do. I also appreciate that it will be increasingly difficult for single parents with several young children living in flats, especially as summer tends to bring heat waves. But this is a serious disease, with life-limiting after-effects for many.

The problem is not those of us who will continue to take precautions irrespective of what we are allowed to do but those who will be expected to use their own judgement.

Many examples of irresponsible and selfish behaviour have appeared in the news, ever since the first lockdown.

That behaviour has been present right from the beginning, despite the precautions “imposed”.

Another phenomenon deriving from Covid-19 is the dreadful rash of pontificating professors constantly in our face these days. They could be right of course, only time will tell, and then it will be ‘told you so’ time. We need to be aware that, despite the government’s attempts to seek science as an ally, policy is all about politics.

I more than ever wish the daily mortality statistics published in the media were categorised by sex, age, and underlying health condition [if any].

Um. Maybe these ‘pontificating professors’ might, collectively, stand a chance of offering an informed opinion, which might not be the case with (most) government officials, civil servants and the general public.

Well, yes, that would be good . . . if collectively they agree on a common methodology and basis of evidence.

My point, though, is that the government is prepared to take a gamble because it is not exclusively preoccupied with the health of the population but is taking many other factors into account, particularly the public finances. That is not necessarily the wrong policy but it does court opposition from academic interests who can take a more detached view. An Olympian purity of approach is a respectable virtue but not necessarily practical with regard to all relevant circumstances.

I agree that science is not the only consideration for the government, John.

One of the conditions set out for stage 4 of the ‘roadmap’ towards lifting restrictions is:
“Enable the public to make informed decisions through guidance, rather than laws.”

I question whether individual members of the public are in a position to make informed decisions. The decision to lift most restrictions in July was made when we were not facing a third wave of infections.

Agreed. The guidance on its own is too weak in the present circumstances. With a surge in infections, firm direction is required. The government has not adjusted its route to reflect the changing situation. It risks losing control of the public response.

One problem is that there are powerful voices in the media and on the government side of the House of Commons pleading for release from all restrictions and freedom for all. Their constituents might not be so keen. Freedom for some could mean illness — or worse — for others.

In March 2020 there was the bad decision to allow the Cheltenham racing festival to go ahead with large crowds. That is said to have precipitated widespread transmission of the coronavirus that gave rise to Covid-19. This weekend tens of thousands will be at the Open Golf tournament at Sandwich in Kent and at the Formula 1 motor racing Grand Prix at Silverstone. There will also be lots of other mass spectator events around the country in the weeks ahead. A responsible government would issue guidance not to attend but is frightened of doing so. The media will, as usual, boost these events with full coverage and no recommendation to avoid them.

I have absolutely no respect for the media.

They had the power to support the government in their efforts to get us through this pandemic, their influence could have saved many lives, we might be in a much better position to come out of lockdown, maybe we could have come out of lockdown much sooner and events such as those mentioned by John could go ahead with much less risk.

I remember last year the smiles on newsreaders faces as they showed the masses enjoying themselves on the beaches.

Instead, they should have been castigating all mass gatherings not promoting them.

And by supporting the government, they didn’t have to agree with all their decisions. They could also have been a dissenting voice when the government made bad decisions holding them to account, suggesting better alternatives. Their investigative reporting could have been used for good, not the mixed messages they keep sending out that just stir up discontent with the public.

After interviewing individuals for months who think we should be coming out of lockdown, at the last minute the media are doing a u-turn but it’s OK to mock the government doing a u-turn when things have not gone according to plan – a plan that might have worked if the media had supported it.

And giving prime air time to the likes of M O’Leary but without any balancing or informed response exemplifies the irresponsible nature of the media at times.

Cheltenham, Brighton and Bournemouth beaches, Durdle Door, Christmas markets, partying in the streets, vigils, ………. all during lockdown and against restrictions just show how a part of the population have no common sense or appreciation of the possible consequences of their actions. Restrictions, lockdowns, rules didn’t affect them then, and won’t in the future. Just as those who visited India, returned through the back door, and help spread another variant world wide. And the Scots running loose at the world cup – and Scotland in a worse position than England currently. The control of Covid depends primarily upon vaccines and upon people behaving appropriately. No matter how well you perform on vaccinating it is the people element that lets us down.

A pity the media use the government as the whipping boy, and largely ignores real criticism of those who can really make it work – us.

Those who complain that easing the restrictions now is wrong really cannot lose. If the epidemic does get out of control they will tell us “I told you so”. If the result is an increase in cases but fewer hospitalised, less severe symptoms, a much-reduced death rate then they may say how much better things would have been if their advice had been followed. What they don’t examine is the effects on mental health, education, the economy, jobs….. It is far more complex an issue than a simple “lockdown policy” can deal with.

I hope the emphasis in the media and elsewhere will be for us to take common sense precautions – we all should know about those – and to avoid those places and events, including overseas holidays, where the irresponsible who don’t think or don’t care will gather.

Don’t you think that the government must take the blame for allowing foreign travel, Malcolm? Even if permitted for ‘essential purposes’ (whatever that is) those coming into the country could be required to stay in a quarantine hotel.

“Blame”? I put the responsibility on those who chose to travel abroad, whether on holiday or not, those who avoided the requirement to self isolate, knowing the reasons why such travel was deprecated and yet ignored advice – and I repeatedly criticised Which?Travel as I’m sure you noticed for their attitude towards the deprived holidaymakers.

Fine, “blame” government to the exclusion of anyone else, but I do not think that fairly addresses the reality.

The point I was making was simply that the success of a strategy depends very substantially upon the cooperation of us all. As the examples given by me and others show, many people will not cooperate and will defy any rules and regulations set down. University reopening, returning to school, perhaps should have been banned but at what cost; the appalling behaviour of some universities and, worse, students who might be regarded as intelligent, shows the difficulties we face.

So short of running a police state where everyone is monitored, where we spy on our friends, family and neighbours and report them when they transgress, I do not see how we can defeat this section of the community. Travel abroad was just a single instance of defiance; there are many more at home that show how powerless we are to demand appropriate behaviour is observed from a significant part of the population, including getting vaccinated to help protect others.

Yes, the government must partly take the blame, but they are being bombarded with conflicting advice, evidence, the media, businesses and public opinion.

The media reported thousands of Germans enjoying holidays on the Spanish islands but neglected to report whether those holidays increased infections. If the Germans can go on holiday, why can’t the Brits? They egg that on with many interviews from the travel industry who want to reopen for business with little thought to the increase in cases it will bring along with new variants. Reporting a traveller will get where he wants to go by any means necessary just encourages others to do the same.

How many hotels are there that can accommodate plane-loads of travellers coming from foreign countries?

Oh yes the government is bombarded with conflicting advice and there is a great deal of pressure from the travel industry.

Yes there is very restricted capacity in quarantine hotels, so maybe foreign travel does not make much sense at present.

I do believe that travel companies should have been required to return money to their customers promptly, as Which? has suggested.

I suggest blaming the government is more palatable than criticising those who, despite the restrictions and guidance, actually commit the acts that are irresponsible – many of us.

As far as I am aware their have been quite severe restrictions on travel abroad for most of the epidemic, yet the government was criticised when it changed the status of some countries and, as a result, caused holidaymakers inconvenience and extra costs – holidaymakers who should have known they were taking a risk but did not like the consequences.

. The government is now being attacked by some for increasing the status of France at short notice, thus making returning Brits self isolate and undergo test because of a rise in the Beta Variant. Oh dear. Should the government have given them two weeks notice? Do we blame them for taking such action in the light of a significantly increased risk?

In general we often like to find someone or some institution to “blame” rather than look at ourselves and ask whether we could accept some, or even all, of the responsibility?

I hardly think the government should be blamed for allowing foreign travel. It was heavily criticised for severely restricting foreign travel. It could have made life easier for itself by shutting down all travel anywhere outside the UK for the duration and now it is paying the price for being flexible and moving countries up and down the traffic signals. It is not a one-sided decision – it’s no good allowing people to go to country X if country X isn’t going to let them in, or to let people go to country Y if the UK doesn’t have the capacity to quarantine them on their return. In any case it’s a moving target and everybody knew that — the mock outrage that people are being messed about is not a persuasive sentiment.

As an aside, I am surprised that the travel trade is happy to expose its staff to hordes of happy holidaymakers in cramped conditions on aeroplanes and in airports. I don’t think we have to take much notice of what the boss of Ryanair has to say. His company was not a paragon of customer satisfaction when refunds were due at the start of the pandemic.

It would be very good if we all accepted responsibly but not everyone does, hence we need to turn to our government to take responsibility too.

It looks as if most restrictions will be lifted within a couple of days and if that happens, considering the rising number of infections, I will blame the government. As Ian has said, they have received plenty of scientific advice.

There is no doubt that the government has locked itself into a policy straitjacket over the ending of the restrictions and the carte blanche reopening of all public venues. It fears being accused of indecision, but changing your mind is the right thing to do if a change of circumstances makes an earlier decision the wrong one to pursue.

I agree. It’s impossible to accurately predict the future and it is certainly helpful to make provisional plans to lift lockdown, subject to review. The government would have gained my respect if it had announced that the final stage of lifting the lockdown had been delayed until further notice. Had everyone complied with the rules or even taken additional precautions we might be in a better position to proceed but there has been plenty of warning that this was not going to happen.

Some seem averse to placing responsibility on the individual, particularly when they are as informed as they have been. Whatever regulations and restrictions are put in place, a sizeable sector will avoid and ignore them. As we have seen numerous times. I think it would be sad day if we accept that we, as individuals, rely on the government to control our behaviour, even if that were possible. We can think for ourselves and exercise that right. Unfortunately some think for themselves but in different ways. How to bring them “into line”. Not possible in my view.

We have delayed the ending of restrictions already, but those restrictions did not prevent what is currently happening. I hope that sufficient have been vaccinated to limit the adverse effects and that a sufficient proportion of the population have sufficient common sense and responsibility to continue observing the rules that the government has been advising to date. We don’t need effectively unenforceable or unenforced rules for us to use our own judgement. I will wear a mask inside public places, use hand sanitiser, wash hands regularly, not go to crowded places, not go abroad on holiday, not kiss strangers (I could be arrested anyway); will anyone join me?

I do not know anyone here who is averse to placing responsibility on the individual. So far I have had no problem with complying with the rules or doing more to protect myself and others. If the lifting of most of the present rules goes ahead on Monday I suspect that those of us who have been taking precautions may need to be more constrained.

When they choose to direct their criticism only at the government rather than the individual who chooses to transgress.
How you get a whole population to act responsibly, knowing the situation, is an impossibility whatever rules and regulations you impose. We see many individuals who simply defy those rules and regulations and I place responsibility on them for their part in the spread of Covid.

We can both condemn those who have behaved irresponsibly. My concern here is the plan to further relax the guidance issued to us all by moving to Step 4 of the ‘Roadmap’ in two days. In the circumstances, is that wise?

My contention is that whatever plan is laid down, those who want to ignore it will. So in the end it comes down to individual responses. So the individual must take responsibility for their actions, unless they have been misinformed. I don’t think we have been misinformed about the risks of holidaying abroad, for example, but many seem to ignore advice.

I am referring to the planned relaxation of restrictions on Monday. Might it have been sensible to further delay relaxing restrictions in the circumstances?

This thread makes very interesting reading. There seem to be three strands: the media, the government and individual responsibility.

On the media: the media is not a single organism; in the UK, anyway, it has significant leeway to reflect public opinion and report the news. Is it flawed? Of course it is, and massively in some cases. But I’m not sure what the options are.

There is, much as some might like to believe it, no such thing as disinterested and factual news. Each person who sees something reports a different version. The only option appears to be that inherent in a communist or totalitarian state. There, all news has to pass the eyes of the censor. And I wouldn’t want that.

On the government front, however, I feel it’s much more clear cut. There are some simple tests for determining whether the government is being effective or useless.

1. Is this a national emergency? If it isn’t. then fine, and folk can do what they wish, subject to the already heady heap of legislation in place. If it is, then the government has to take the decisions necessary to protect its citizens, and enforce those decisions.

2. Has the government got its priorities right? Well, is it protecting its citizenry? Is it taking the tough decisions? Is it relying wholly on disinterested scientific observations or is it taking decisions based helping the rich become richer?

3. Is it prepared to stand firm in the face of those who demand otherwise, or does it instead prefer to waffle?

4. Does it act on the assumption of freedom with responsibility? In other words, does it assume, like a weak parent, that ‘people will be people’ and sit back, then blame the people for a bad outcome? Or will it impose immediate and stiff penalties on those wilfully putting the health and welfare of the citizens it is supposed to protect at risk?

It’s easy to say that “a sizeable sector will avoid and ignore (the rules)” but we haven’t achieved one of the safest places in the world to drive by leaving it to the individual. The government has strict laws in place, and doesn’t balk at imposing them.

But do we think “it would be sad day if we accept that we, as individuals, rely on the government to control our behaviour”? Well, we all like to think we know how to behave but when I’m driving I like to feel that others are being constrained in doing what they wish by the government. If they weren’t I imagine we’d see far more deaths, far more casualties and many unpleasant incidences from those who believe violence should be the first resort.

If the government feels it’s necessary to determine the speed limits, and enforce them, or prohibit random violence, then I understand it does so to protect me as well as control me. And I have no problem with that. I just wish they would take the same approach to our health.

Part of the reason people drive carefully is self-preservation; they know the financial and injurial consequences of driving recklessly. But that does not stop some driving badly, ignoring speed limits, no insurance and so forth. Whatever regulations are put in place a significant number will ignore them.

Indeed, but they have to suffer the consequences if caught, and I know from friends and relatives that that does give them pause for thought. Take out legislation and we revert to anarchy.

The vigils, weddings, outdoor partying, much self isolation, Christmas markets, as examples were supposedly covered by legislation but many clearly did not pause for thought. Nor was the law enforced, or when it was attempted their were squeals of protest.
Fortunately, the vast majority respect social behaviour without the threat of prosecution and help, in the case of Covid, protect the rest.

One of the problems with a laissez faire approach to protection from infection is that some people are bullies or extremely inconsiderate.

The Prime Minister, declared that people should use their common sense and personal responsibility over whether or not they should wear a face-covering on public transport. As an example, he said that on a late night main-line train with near-empty carriages people could choose not to wear a mask but in a crowded rush-hour Underground train it would be responsible to do so. But if I am standing in a crowded tube train, wearing my mask as I would intend to do in line with my own sense of public responsibility, and the person standing next to me doesn’t wear a face covering, and doesn’t believe they should have to, what rights do I have to any protection? It might be impossible to move to a safer position so until either of us gets off the train viral transmission can take place.

Until the risks of infection are greatly reduced many people will choose not to use public transport at busy times. This could impede the return to normal business and the recovery of the economy — the complete opposite of what the PM wishes to achieve.

The other day the PM was setting out some ‘skeletal ideas’ for devolving more powers to the regions and counties throughout England. He could start by letting the metropolitan mayors and public transport authorities make their own decisions on public health protection on the public transport services for which they are responsible.

I think mayors have made decisions about mask wearing on public transport..
I have not used the tube during the epidemic but reports from those who have say that a number did not wear masks.

Generally it should be possible to avoid those who do not wear masks. I think travelling on a tube train that is crowded is unlikely to be a healthy pursuit with, or without, a mask and best avoided.

Travellers will be required to wear masks on all TfL London transport after 19th July. See:

inews.co.uk – Do we need to wear face masks on public transport after 19th July?
Rules, Advice and TfL Policy Explained

Thank you. Beryl.

When I wrote my comment I was unaware of the separate instructions from Transport for London. Presumably the transport operator has power to make regulations for travel on their networks that override national government regulations. Fair enough, and I support the clarity of the decision, but it would have been better if the PM had explained the situation with equal clarity and told people to do what the operators say. I have some sympathy with those who feel there are mixed messages that make compliance unclear. People will always take the easiest way to take advantage of any inconsistency in the rules.

Last week the world’s death toll passed 4,070,341 out of 189 million cases. Almost 2.5% of those who become infected (in the UK) die.

This week the news outlets, displaying rare unanimity, report that case numbers of severe Covid-19 among the under-25s are growing rapidly. This is in addition to the disquieting news that adults who have had two vaccinations are also being hospitalised. On those reports alone it seems dangerous to go for the full lifting of restrictions.

Phil says:
17 July 2021

Only 8% of reported cases are fully vaccinated but I would agree, lifting restrictions at this juncture does seem like madness.

From the Lancet:

“England is now experiencing a third wave with over 20,000 daily reported cases and 9 day doubling times as of 2 July 2021, this time with the more transmissible Delta variant. Yet the government is rapidly easing measures in the midst of a surging pandemic. Euro2020 matches attended by tens of thousands of fans have gone ahead, leading to 15% of those who attended from Scotland becoming infected. While it is unclear where these infections were acquired, it is likely that activities such as travel and socialisation linked to these events have contributed to spread. On 19th of July, almost all restrictions including social distancing and widespread mask use will be stopped. The same day, nightclubs will open without the need for pre-testing. This has been widely branded as ‘freedom day’, sending the message that the pandemic is effectively over. As cases rise rapidly, some government advisors and MPs are now suggesting that release of daily case updates on COVID-19 should be stopped, as they ‘are a long way from being an important cause of death’.

These strands of evidence support the conclusion that the policy being pursued, by design or default, is population immunity through mass infection of large swathes of the population. Herd immunity to an infectious disease has never been achieved by this approach in the timescale that would avoid undue harm to the UK population. “

Phil says:
17 July 2021

Shifting the focus away from deaths more hospital beds and resources are being taken up by Covid patients with 400-500 in ICUs. Something like 15-20% of them will be left with ‘long covid’ and need support for years to come.

What concerns me is that people are not grasping the true seriousness of Covid-19. The current death rates in our own country with the NHS mean that almost 1 in 40 people who contract it will die. That in itself is a pretty chilling statistic.

Worth looking at the top 10 killer conditions
to remember, perhaps, those that could be (partially) treated with sufficient effort. The difference is most are not transmissible. But some are – lower respiratory infections (pre – Covid) 3.2 million a year, Tuberculosis 1.3M, Diarrheal 1.4M.

In the developed world, TB is largely associated with poor living conditions, poor nutrition and other potentially avoidable factors such as smoking.

Precisely. Factors we could avoid if we set our priorities on minimised poor health.

In Tokyo, with a week to go before the Olympics begins and athletes coming into close contact with each other, there have now been 44 positive cases of the virus, 5 of which are athletes.

I rang a friend a couple of days ago and found that he had gone to Silverstone. If I was interested in car racing I would watch it on TV.

One more example of an individual making a choice we would disagree with. Just because you can does not mean you should.
I trust you will avoid contact with your friend for the next couple of weeks.

I’ve not seen him since late 2019, but we keep in contact by phone, as I have been keeping in touch with most of my friends. Thanks to the phone and Zoom I am more in contact with some people than I have been for years.

Blaming and shaming never solves any issues, unless you happen to live in a nanny state where individual mindsets become dependent upon the parent that cares for you and is there to solve all your problems for you.

Government is there to protect the economy at any cost, because without a successful economy, standards deteriorate, jobs are lost and when poverty strikes, everyone suffers hardship and a country remains vulnerable to attack from a stronger and wealthier nation.

This is what this government is up against at the moment, and what it needs to convey to its citizens is; this is a killer disease, here is the science behind it, accept it and take that advice, or don’t blame us if you don’t survive it. With a weaker economy caused by a killer disease, the NHS cannot afford to continue to support people who disregard the advice and who will jeopardise the treatment of millions of people who may take that advice and are already in need of hospitalised treatment from other causes.

The danger in this particular fiasco is, politicians in opposition will seize an opportunity such as this to gain points and blame the residing government for whatever decision they make, purely based on their own self interest and gain, and not that of the electorate, which puts them in a no win situation whatever they decide to do or say.

So what is the solution at an individual level? You continue to take all the precautions necessary to protect yourself and your family where you can, and learn to accept the uncertainty of a serious indisposition that befalls us all, until it eventually in time, dwindles and fades away.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid tests positive for coronavirus.

He has been double-vaccinated and I just hope if he only gets it mildly doesn’t use that as proof it is safe to reopen.

Andrew Marr from BBC TV also caught it after being double vaccinated and was quite poorly but didn’t need hospitalisation.

See: bbc.co.uk – Marr On Catching. Covid After Being Double Vaccinated.

I always had a similar problem with the ‘flu vaccination, mainly caused by science failing to predict the correct strain, which eventually resulted in the introduction of more than one strain with each seasonal vaccination, but then I experienced mild ‘flu symptoms caused by my immune systems over-reaction to the vaccine. I eventually stopped having it.

I sincerely hope he does only get it mildly. As I hope nor does anyone else, double vaccinated, single vaccinated or not.

It does seem those who are vaccinated are very much less likely to suffer severe disease. We have to balance the risks of the effects of the virus against all the other factors that make this a complex problem to resolve. What seems the easy solution – have total lockdown for another few months – when we seem to, on the whole, have less serious reaction to the virus despite rising infections, coupled with the damage to mental health, the economy, education, is the balancing act someone needs to address. Were that to change then I hope appropriate restrictions will be imposed, but what good are they if a sizeable part of the population ignore them, just as they have in the past?

Phil says:
17 July 2021

There are now more vaccinated than unvaccinated, a ratio of about 2:1 including those who have had just one jab, so we’re bound to hear about more cases of vaccinated people falling ill. Like any other vaccine it’s not 100% effective and anyone with pre-existing conditions like Andrew Marr is going to be particularly vulnerable.

The unvaccinated are still twice as likely to get covid as those with even just one shot and much more likely to get seriously ill.

My friend’s 35-36 year old son refused the vaccine and is currently laid up with Covid. Not seriously ill but losing a lot of money and his mum’s been banned from going over to nurse him.

Most people in their 70’s and 80s plus have a pre existing condition, and many are not yet aware of it until they experience a life threatening illness, which is good reason to continue to take extra precautions even after double vaccination if you are in that age group.

I’m sorry to hear about your friend’s son. Did he have a good reason to refuse vaccination or does he now regret not taking up the offer?
I bet his Mum gave him a piece of her mind (I assume she was vaccinated?)
My kids took the vaccine at the very first opportunity, both for their own protection and for their families.

Phil says:
17 July 2021

No and yes are the answers. He just got influenced by something he read on social media but he’s recovering and has booked his first jab next week. Mum and dad are both fully vaccinated and I get the impression that sympathy was in short supply.

I don’t understand why anyone pays advice to what they read on social media, Phil. A couple of days ago, someone posted something, here on Conversation, to rubbish official advice about coronavirus but it was removed promptly.

I don’t know anyone who has avoided vaccination, though a friend was concerned about the risk that his son could suffer anaphylactic shock since he had a problem with another vaccine in the past. This time he had no problem.

Phil says:
17 July 2021

Nor me and it’s utterly mind boggling to read the incredible rubbish some people believe. He’s the only refusenik I know and appears to have come to his senses.

Em says:
17 July 2021

If we think about the way vaccines work, they don’t actually stop anyone from getting the infection.

An effective vaccine trains the body’s immune system to recognise and respond to an invading virus. Hopefully the response is quick enough and suppresses the virus before definite symptoms of infection appear, and ideally before the body starts replicating and shedding virus, which can infect others.

Even where a vaccine is less effective, as appears to be the case with AstraZeneca, it encourages an immune response before major damage occurs to the body’s organs. Whether viral shedding and transmission can occur, no one yet seems to know for sure.

Em says:
17 July 2021

@wavechange I don’t understand why anyone pays advice to what they read on social media … Well, you wouldn’t would you?

As a member of Which? (I presume), you have demonstrated that you are not only capable of assimilating information and advice, but also making your own decisions. In making this assertion, I’m also assuming that you do not drive a Porsche.

I know of several anti-vaxxers. A friend’s daughter who thinks she will have a thalidomide baby (fakebook) and anyway she has already had the virus – before most of us knew anything about it. Her mother defends her to the hilt.

Already having the virus before most of us knew anything about it seems to be a common theme with anti-vaxxers including a couple of my relatives.

Em, pardon my interruption, but I don’t subscribe to social media as such, simply because there are too many trolls and tribulations lurking behind the confines of unmoderated cyber space. I hope you are OK in your enforced isolation and remain free from all unwelcome manifestations.

@Em – You are right about social media. I mainly visit a site run by a small charity and try to answer questions and acknowledge helpful visitors who post useful information, historic photos, etc.

Yes I’m a member of Which? and am happy to support their efforts, albeit some more than others. A career in research and teaching has helped in many ways – one of which being to appreciate how much I do not know. That’s why many of my posts include guarded statements. I prefer to examine information and advice, and try to establish if it is good or possibly flawed.

I have no Porsche but they don’t do enough miles to the gallon for my liking.

Sound advice on how to exercise personal responsibility after July 19th.
Read more: https://www.which.co.uk/news/2021/07/5-things-you-need-to-know-before-covid-restrictions-are-lifted/ – Which?
The one I would not have included is this:
“5. If travelling abroad, do your research to keep on top of the rules
I would simply not advise travelling abroad.

It’s sometimes said that we spend too much time complaining on Which? Conversation, so I would like to relate a positive experience.

When leaving a supermarket filling station late in the evening a warning light appeared and the engine lost power. I parked and called my insurance company that provides RAC cover and was transferred to the RAC. The local patrols were now off duty, so they could arrange a local contractor to attend. The alternative was to leave the car there overnight and then have someone to attend the following morning. Since I could get a lift home from a friend and returned to my car the following morning, this seemed to be the best option. Fortunately there were no parking restrictions and when I described the symptoms to the RAC chap over the phone he said it was likely to be a failed injector and that the car was in limp home mode, something I have only read about. A quick check using computer diagnostics showed that the diagnosis was correct and identified which injector had failed.

I asked for car to be taken to my trusted garage, about 12 miles away, unless it was a main dealer job. The car was promptly towed away and I had my exercise for the day walking four miles home. The last time I had a car break down was in 1989 and that was handled very efficiently too.

Wavechange, I once drove a car about 4 miles with a huge hole in the petrol tank to a local garage. Upon collection, the mechanic queried how I managed to get it there, since the damaged petrol tank was completely empty when they removed it. The car in question belonged to a close relative who had just been taken seriously ill and been admitted to hospital. He later recovered

Sometimes we can be very lucky, Beryl. I once went on holiday with a group of six university friends and one of the drivers lost his specs just before we set off home, and he did not have a spare pair. Fortunately I was able to drive him 200+ miles home but had he lost his specs earlier he might not have enjoyed the week.

Sometimes our expectations exceed reality and we take things for granted Wavechange. Perhaps Stephan Hawking provided inspiration when he said……

“My expectations were reduced to zero when I was 21. Everything since then has been a bonus.


I had a great deal of respect for Stephen Hawking and those who helped achieve so much to give hope to severely disabled people, and also for managing to continue his scientific career when the easy option would be to give up.

I have less respect for those who have brought us smart household appliances to encourage us to part with more cash, but there are some positives.

How about those who test and promote smart appliances?

They are what many people want, Malcolm, such is the power of marketing. When choosing a dishwasher recently, avoiding a smart appliance was a key consideration. In future this might not be an option unless you choose a cheap model.

Of course they are, or perhaps in many cases what people are persuaded they want, or think they should have because it is the latest technology. Like many things, what people use their excess income to purchase is down to them.

I was simply questioning, as you presumably gathered, whether Which? in testing and publicising such products is doing the best thing. Should they be more focused on explaining the pros and cons of smart appliances in the reviews to better inform people who are considering what to choose?

I’ll give one answer to my own question. It might matter in principle but is unlikely to matter much in practice because most people will not read a Which? review when they set out to buy something.

Which? has pointed out the potential security risks of smart products. At present we don’t really know about the downsides of buying these products but we might do in the next couple of years. Should Which? be the only target or do the manufacturers deserve criticism? Or, bearing in mind the recent discussion about coronavirus, should the public be to blame for buying the. products?

It is not necessarily about security but whether these products have any actual value that should be included in the report.

As buying these appliances is not a danger to health and others, as far as I know, the only responsibility is with those who can choose on what to spend their money. Should Porsche not make cars? Do we blame people who buy them (why “blame” – what are they to be blamed for). Do we “blame” Porsche for clearly addressing a consumer demand? I see no parallel with Covid.

Bt are not many decisions about how to behave consumer-related? ‘Blame’ is a tricky issue; we can really only apportion blame when something which is clearly foreseeable happens because of a lack of clear and precise rules.

If the government is derelict in terms of setting those rules then surely they’re to blame?

Comment removed 🙂

” People will agree or disagree about whether it’s right to impose further restrictions on travel from France, but there’s no excuse for announcing it late on a Friday night, especially when there was already a planned update to government travel rules on Wednesday.

There is every “excuse” if there is a significant health issue that arises, whether it is decided on a Friday or any other day. This should not be decided at the convenience oh holidaymakers who should be all too aware of the volatility of the holidaying situation; they were warned plenty of times. If they were not prepared for the possible change they should not have taken the known risk and stayed at home like responsible people.

This is another black mark against Which?’s very variable approach to the epidemic.

Em says:
18 July 2021

It is not a further restriction, it’s just a continuation for the existing restriction for fully vaccinated travellers to France. The travel advice for France and returning home is very clear:

Be prepared for your plans to change

No travel is risk-free during COVID. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant.

What part of that advice don’t you understand?

Em says:
18 July 2021

And further Foreign travel advice: To prevent new COVID variants from entering the UK, you should not travel to amber or red list countries. That includes France.

So no one has any right to be there on holiday at the moment. People who have respected the rules so far aren’t going to be caught out.

Em says:
18 July 2021

It could be a lot worse. BBC News reported yesterday:

“Athletes who are coming to Japan are probably very worried. I understand that,” said Games chief Seiko Hashimoto.

“We are doing everything to prevent any Covid outbreaks. If we end up with an outbreak we will make sure we have a plan in place to respond.

Outbreak first. Plan second.

Take comfort from the fact that we as a country at least know how to prioritize a p**s-up in a brewery during a Covid pandemic, if not much else.

Around 350,000 spectators at Silverstone this weekend, but it’s OK, nothing to worry about, they have strict Covid protocols in place.

Phil says:
18 July 2021

As they no doubt did at all the crowded beaches (neither appeals to me). We are in for a s*** storm of mammoth proportions.

Phil says:
18 July 2021

Just to add to it the tinfoil hat brigade will be marching tomorrow and next Saturday.

I read that supermarkets are likely to be reducing their opening hours in the face of the self-isolation surge. Home deliveries will possibly be curtailed. Shortages are likely. Hoarding and stockpiling are creeping back on to people’s agenda. Here we go again!

What part of the global climate change action plan does a motor racing Grand Prix support? I trust none of the third of a million spectators went to Silverstone by car. Oh . . . just a minute . . . — nearly all of them apparently.

No, quite a lot fly over my house in helicopters. Inefficient and noisy machines but suitable when you have plenty of disposable income.

Hydrogen powered F1 cars are on the agenda because e-cars do not sufficiently excite the spectators, apparently. Hydrogen is expensive to produce and an inefficient use of energy, but I don’t suppose that is of any consequence.

This will be another example of the power of the media not supporting the country but instead using their influence to create food shortages. They know exactly what will happen if they even hint it. But it makes good news stories doesn’t it. If everyone carried on normally there wouldn’t be too much of a problem.

I’ve just had a Zoom meeting with friends who were referring to the news about supermarket problems. If I put in an order by midnight I could have a delivery for tomorrow morning, so there is no problem round here – so far.

I despair of the press at times.

Phil says:
18 July 2021

” Hydrogen is expensive to produce and an inefficient use of energy, but I don’t suppose that is of any consequence. ”

The energy expended on F1 is wasted for no good purpose so it wouldn’t seem to matter. We’re told fans would miss the deafening scream F1 engines produce which is a peculiar claim.

According to the BBC News there were only 140,000 spectators at Silverstone today, so that’s alright then.

I doubt if more than 1-2% of spectators go to Silverstone by helicopter. I would expect most of the airborne passengers are part of the organisational circus that attends with FIA officials, media, manufacturers’ and suppliers’ representatives [and their favoured parliamentary guests et al], and some VIP’s who mustn’t be delayed on crowded roads.

When you read the eye-watering sums that many football fans paid for entry to the Euro 2020 Championship matches and the Wimbledon tennis tournament, and will have paid to attend today’s F1 Grand Prix and the Open Golf Championship final, it makes you realise how deeply the austerity cuts are biting and what hardships are being endured.

Me? Envious? — Perish the thought!

Em says:
19 July 2021

@alfa said: … another example of the power of the media not supporting the country but instead using their influence to create food shortages …

I was disgusted by one BBC news report of supermarket shortages early last year, just before we went into lockdown for the first time. It used a photograph of shelves stripped bare to support the story – in a French supermarket. (It looked “sus” to me. When I zoomed I could see the LCD price tags common over there, and the few remaining products were French brands.)

It was probably a stock photo – an unhelpful description in this case.

I suppose that by publicising national shortages the press will generate another story.

The latest easing of restrictions makes me a little unsure. Seeing photos and videos of mass gatherings, I wonder if there should have been another step. I’ve already heard from three people today who have been notified to self-isolate.

I completely understand we need to get back out of our homes but the labelling of ‘freedom day’ I feel hasn’t helped.

With 40,000 new cases a day it might have been wise to postpone lifting of restrictions until the current vaccination programme has been completed.

The Dean of the Faculty of Intensive Care said tonight, in response to “was it a good time to ease restrictions” …….”yes, as good a time as any and best not to wait until the beginning of winter.” Those being admitted to hospital are generally younger, less sick, and are released in about half the time of the pre-vaccination time.

Sensible people will continue to take precautions. Those less sensible will do what they have always done. It is astonishing (perhaps it is not) to see how many people simply don’t care and go abroad – then moan when they get caught out. I have absolutely no sympathy.

Presumably there is a good reason for the relaxation of rules relating to foreign travel too.

What relaxation? France, Spain, Belearics……https://www.which.co.uk/news/2021/07/travel-traffic-light-green-list-countries-where-holiday-abroad/.

I see no relaxation.

From the BBC website today:

> Guidance recommending against travel to amber list countries removed

> Under-18s and fully vaccinated adults no longer have to self-isolate after visiting amber list countries – although those returning from France to the UK must still quarantine for 10 days

When the proposed end of the lockdown restrictions was shunted forward from 21 June to 19 July it was in the expectation that the two-dose vaccination programme would be more or less complete by then on the assumption that, if anything, the daily jab rate would accelerate.

Unfortunately that has not happened, and the uptake of the vaccination among the younger age groups has been slower. I am surprised that had not been factored into the road map.

Surely it was realised that there was a link between the perceived risk level and known medical vulnerability and the propensity to get immunised. Younger people believed that the disease risk was of a lesser order in their case and that any illness would not be severe.

There were other social factors at work too affecting attitudes to immunisation. Being completely out of touch with the post-millennial Generation Z demographic I was unaware how important the nightclub was to their well-being and general social evolution. The nightclub industry has been stunned by the government’s intention to restrict attendance to people who have had two doses of Coivid-19 vaccine [and can prove it] rather than just having had a negative test result..

The transmission rate for newer variants was the unknown element and, with the Alpha strain now largely accounted for, it is the Delta and Beta variants that have become the worrying developments, the latter having particularly affected France.

It has seemed unfair that the UK government has attracted so much criticism for changes of policy necessitated by changed circumstances in other countries.

It seems to have taken a long time to dawn on certain sectors of the economy that, whether they like it or not, it is their activities and operations that are the most conducive to the spread of an infection, especially international travel.


Double jabbed can go but must take tests. I wonder just how many went in the past and ignored the requirements. It seems to me that many of those who chose to holiday abroad and risked their health, let alone that of others, will probably ignore any other rules as well.

Should we have banned cricket, football, Olympics, golf and other sporting events where our people mix with those from many other countries?

Segregation and isolation are the most effective ways to control, the spread of an infection so there is a powerful argument in favour of stopping mass attendance events where an excess of jubilation can be predicted with outbursts of oral exhalations.

I don’t suppose you get such a big problem with bowls tournaments.

Oral inhalations coupled with extremely social undistancing will be an even bigger problem.

John, you have no concept of the expression of exultation that erupts when your large black bowl hits the little yellow ball and knocks your opponent off. Football hooligans are mild mannered whimps in comparison. Although, because of the maturity of the bowling community, the exhulation is contained within the mind.

I live within five minutes walk of a very nice bowling club. My knees do not allow me to play but I occasionally call in and spectate. I agree there are occasional murmurs of satisfaction when there is a dramatic climax to an end. The game is sometimes so tense it is hard to believe luck has anything to do with the scoring.

Nice one John. When I was a still lucky enough to enjoy the long school summer holidays, I would often walk into the shops to run errands for my mother. On the way, I’d pass the local park and it bowling green. A few times matches would be going on. But more often, the groundsman would be moving the lawn, either from east to west and back again, or from north to south and back again, or also using diagonal paths at 45 degrees across the lawn. I found such meticulous moving to be quite impressive.

We mowed the green every two days, diagonally only to avoid creating “runs” along the rinks. It was always easier in the early morning when there was still dew on the grass so that you could see where you had mown.

Phil says:
22 July 2021

One reason for the apparently slow vaccine uptake in younger age groups was the decision not to use the AZ vaccine in these groups, the tiny risk of death from blood clots being close to the risk of death from CV. This means dependence on limited supplies of other types of vaccines particularly the Pfizer. It’s becoming apparent however that the Delta variant is affecting younger people more so possibly time that decision was reviewed.

There is also a perception that the young with their lack of life experience and dependence on social media are more susceptible to anti-vaxx propaganda.

I am sure that’s the case, Phil, and there doesn’t seem to be a cure for that.

It has been much criticised, but I think the government’s move to require evidence of complete vaccination before allowing people into entertainment venues from the end of September, by when every adult will have had the opportunity to receive two doses, is the right decision. It might make people think of others for once.

Phil says:
22 July 2021

According to PHE 89% of people who have contracted the Delta variant are under 50. Of these 62% are unvaccinated.

Em says:
20 July 2021

It seems to have taken a long time to dawn on certain sectors of the economy that, whether they like it or not, it is their activities and operations that are the most conducive to the spread of an infection, especially international travel.

I’m not sure that it has dawned. Certain airline companies and trade bodies don’t seem to show any shame or embarrasment for spreading this severe infection within a few short months. How do they think it reached all corners of the globe so quickly? Bicycles?

I am getting rather fed up of hearing from bleating night club owners. It is not cheap to get into nightclubs, drinks and food are extortionate so do I feel sorry for them? Don’t know how many times I have heard they have modern air-con that stops the spread of the virus amongst the throng of sweaty, heavy breathing bodies on the dance floor.

Anyone notice how politicians and celebrities either get the virus or have to isolate at the most opportune moments?

Boris still had to face the wrath of Ian Blackford at PMQ today, albeit from his grace and favour computerised temporary home.

At least the Prime Minister’s country retreat at Chequers is not provided as a grace and favour residence at public expense. It derives from a private bequest and is maintained by an independent trust.

What everyone is forgetting is that for some people like my wife and I both 80 with serious underlying medical conditions, catching the Delta variant would be death.

I am sick of hearing TV interviewees say that forcing people to have vaccinations would create a 2-tier society.

We already have a 2-tier society as far as Covid is concerned, those who can go about their lives as normal and people of all ages who can’t because of underlying health conditions.