back to article It's time to track people's smartphones to ensure they self-isolate during this global pandemic, says WHO boffin

Tracking and limiting the movements of overseas travelers, and others suspected to be COVID-19 coronavirus carriers, has proved an essential tool in controlling the pandemic. That's according to Professor Marylouise McLaws, a technical adviser to the World Health Organization's Infection Prevention and Control Global Unit. …

  1. jake Silver badge

    But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

    Nor do I need or want one.

    Whatcha have to say about that, Marylouise?

    1. Halfmad Silver badge

      Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

      You win the hero medal, which bunker do we deliver it to?

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

        Sorry, I have no bunker. I see no need for one of those, either.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

      Do you have one of those so called 'mobile' phones? Then they still can if you carry it with you. If not, then you don't, so it's not mobile.

      1. JetSetJim Silver badge

        Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

        Absolutely every mobile can be tracked to a quite fine granularity while it is active on the network either sending/receiving data (e.g. your app notifications) or making a call. When not doing that, the tracking is less granular - at best it is to cell level, but after a succession of timeouts to a lower granularity (grouping of cells). Networks can improve this by doing periodic paging which forces the phone to reconnect, or by tweaking the timeouts, or by reconfiguring cell groupings.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Absolutely every mobile can be tracked

          Depending on the number, and size of local cells. When using network location only, from home, about 1/2 mile from the waters edge, it would without fail show me bang dead centre of the local estuary, approx. a mile away. And I don't live either below the waves or on a boat. YMMV

          1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

            Re: And I don't live either below the waves or on a boat

            Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?

          2. JetSetJim Silver badge
            Boffin

            Re: Absolutely every mobile can be tracked

            Err - no. There are multiple companies out there that sell solutions that locate mobiles without GPS. Granted, it's not as accurate as GPS by a fair way, and yes, turning the phone off prevents it being tracked, but it's still possible and it happens in pretty much *all* the operators that maintain the network hardware (not sure if MVNO partitioning is widespread). Primary use case is to work out if an area of a cell (that may otherwise be reporting excellent call metrics) is suffering from coverage/quality issues. It's mainly done for monitoring during call/data sessions, but it's not that hard to force the mobile to connect to the network.

            1. JCitizen Bronze badge
              Megaphone

              Re: Absolutely every mobile can be tracked

              Even back woods police departments in the US have that same capability, so they can find accidents without GPS. Like you said, if it is mobile, they can find you if it is turned on - and maybe if it isn't, if you have blabby apps on board. Yes, some older dumb phones have apps.

        2. John Jennings Bronze badge

          Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

          thats not how the system works.

          It uses bluetooth, and records a GUID for what ever phones the first phone comes int proximity with... Then, f you get covid, the data in your phone is sucked out, and the guids are de-anomised. It does not contain gps data (allegedly) - at least the singapore version.

          It has to be a smart phone, because it needs both local storage (and network access to extract this data) and bluetooth to harvest the guids.

          still, its evil from a liberties perspective.

      2. big_D Silver badge

        Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

        The problem is, it assumes that you have a phone or you have it with you, when you leave the house.

        For example, my wife has a smartphone, but usually leaves it at home when she walks the dog... She enjoys the fresh air and that she can't be disturbed.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

          Indeed. But keep quiet otherwise we will all be fitted with ankle tags.

          Somehow I doubt the existing system could cope with that many tags.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

            It's ok - Crapita will be providing the tags so none of them will work

        2. LucreLout Silver badge

          Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

          The problem is, it assumes that you have a phone or you have it with you, when you leave the house.

          I suspect its to reduce the groups of teenagers / millennial's congregating in public spaces. Its not like they're leaving home without their phone.

          Its a trivial way to make life more difficult for those choosing to put everyone else at risk because they absolutely must not have any restrictions on their own pathetic little lives.

          There's no silver bullet solution, even putting the army on the street will see some violating isolation / curfew. The idea is to limit those brainouts and to be identify and appropriately punish them such that they become an example to other hard of learning people.

          1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

            Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

            The more you tighten your fist, the more people will slip through your fingers. How about getting people on your side by treating them as competent adults?

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

              "How about getting people on your side by treating them as competent adults?"

              But they've seen the results of the last couple decades of voting, and thus know that competent adults are few and far between. Using force works better. The beatings will stop when morale improves.

          2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

            Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

            And remember, the evidence from successive governments is that what we give away or allow to be taken will never be given back. I do not and will not take that lying down, and neither should you.

        3. Jon Blund

          Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

          If you read the article there was both a carrot and a whip component. I pretty sure your wife could be coerced into taking the phone with her, but you're the expert.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

            YMMV depending on where you put the carrot I guess?

        4. Jamie Jones Silver badge

          Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

          Thank-you. I was beginning to think I was the only one without a phone surgically attached.

          I never take my phone when I'm shopping. What's the point? I have this nifty service that not only lets me know of missed calls, it allows the caller to leave a message!

          If only other people got such a thing, they wouldn't have too answer the phone with "I'm shopping right now, call me back later"!

          And yeah, some people may be on call, or needed immediately for a critical emergency, but really, that's a small percentage. How on earth did we cope pre-mobile?

      3. Wim Ton
        Coat

        Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

        Are you allowed to leave the house without a mobile phone?

    3. JetSetJim Silver badge

      Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

      Your "dumb" phone will also be tracked. If it's 2G only, it can still be easily tracked by the network

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Pirate

        Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

        it can only be tracked when it is ON. There's this thing called 'voice mail'. It generally works well when you do things like drive, etc. and leave the phone OFF (which you should do while driving, regardless). Then the phone is STILL good for use in emergencies, and you can listen to incoming messages when you get back home {or arrive at your destination, as needed).

        besides, it's NOBODY'S BUSINESS where you are, except YOURS. "Big Nanny" can KISS my HAIRY FREEDOM LOVING ASS!

        1. Peter2 Silver badge

          Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

          A long time ago now, we had an really, really old bit of equipment that did odd things when a mobile was active nearby. The solution was obvious; turn off mobiles near it. The problem diminished severely, but users still reported periodic problems. We came to the obvious conclusion and we told the users that somebody wasn't turning their phone off near it.

          Eventually, after measures were put into place that assured that no mobiles were near it and turned on we looked into it further and discovered that the problem still happened periodically and momentarily with switched off a mobile sitting on it. The problem stopped occurring when the battery was removed from the mobile and reoccurred when the battery was replaced.

          My conclusion; mobiles still periodically transmit even when "turned off" so make sure you take your battery out of your iPhone... oh wait, it's glued in so that you can't. ;)

          1. JetSetJim Silver badge

            Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

            > A long time ago now

            In a galaxy far far away?

            I've done a fair few tests with mobiles with private SIMs in on a private network and never noticed that behaviour in the call trace (using open source network infrastructure, so unlikely to contain "hidden" messaging). Mobe would have to wake up, search for network, acquire it, signal attach request to get connected, then signal something (who knows what - if it's Google/Apple then it's at the application layer so this behaviour would not be tied to a SIM, and there is nothing like this in the standards for phones doing this at lower layers), and then power down.

            In airplane mode, a mobile will still record GPS/WiFi/Network locations - these only rely on the device listening to signals, not transmitting. The phone will then wait for airplane mode to be switched off before transmitting that info back to the mothership

            1. Peter2 Silver badge

              Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

              It would have been about 20 years ago, so nokia phones of the era so it would have been purely 2g. Are they doing it now? No idea.

              What were they doing then? Fuck knows, but they were obviously emitting enough of something to upset equipment when turned off, and I assume (but don't know) that this was transmitting something. The eventual solution iirc was to buy a new microwave for the kitchen, cut the cord off of the old microwave and get people to stick their phones in it before coming into proximity with the equipment. (as a microwave is a perfectly effective faraday cage)

              That lasted until the bit of kit was replaced.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

                Older phones used to ping for local cells every 15 seconds or so. That could be it. Just a way of staying connected to the strongest signal while moving, as far as I know.

                1. Peter2 Silver badge

                  Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

                  Which would make sense while turned on.

                  But while turned off?

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

                    I know they used to do it in standby on some models. The logic being, I suppose, that when they were reactivated they didn't have to spend time hunting around. No clue if they were completely turned off.

                    1. JetSetJim Silver badge

                      Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

                      What you're talking about seems to be the periodic location area update (about every 30 mins, typically) - I'm surprised any phone did it when powered off as it's only to help paging for an inbound call, not to help the phone contact the network

                    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

                      Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

                      "I know they used to do it in standby on some models. "

                      A bunch of the late 90s java 2G models were actually in standby instead of "OFF" when "off". Booting from cold was painfully slow. I wouldn't be at all surprised if they woke up periodically to ping.

                      No idea if holding down the power for 4+ seconds would put them into "real" OFF mode.

        2. JetSetJim Silver badge

          Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

          > besides, it's NOBODY'S BUSINESS where you are, except YOURS

          Under normal circumstances I might agree, however if you're now the equivalent of Typhoid Mary, I'd rathre know where you are. And if information can be garnered to help work out where CV19 incidence will rise due to high numbers of highly mobile people, I would think that would be rather useful in determining where resources could be focussed to minimise loss of life

          1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
            Black Helicopters

            Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

            There's always a worry that when restrictions are put on us in the case of emergencies, they tend to remain permanent. Witness all the snooping still using 9/11 as an excuse..

            1. Yandar

              Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

              It will be like the UK's Income Tax. It was brought into force in 1799 as a temporary measure to pay for the Napoleonic wars. Funny how it's still in force... and we are still paying this tax.

              1. SkippyBing Silver badge

                Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

                Look, it's the French, how can we be sure they're not just sneakily re-grouping?

                1. e^iπ+1=0

                  sneakily re-grouping?

                  I think they just farted in my general direction.

          2. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

            @JetSetJim

            "Under normal circumstances I might agree"

            There is no such thing as normal circumstances. The norm is that circumstances change and there is always some 'issue' that can be subverted to suspend rights and liberties and removing them is a bitch. That is because those who desire power aim for positions of power and will power grab as much as possible to make their ideal utopia (aka everyone elses hell).

            1. Peter2 Silver badge

              Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

              Well, in which case add this to the list of powers allowed if a state of emergency is declared (and only then) and then declare a state of emergency to use the powers for the next 3 months. Then it can be filed with a suspension of habeus corpus, detention without trial and everything else to be used in case of dire disaster.

        3. Jon Blund

          Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

          Pretty sure GCHQ, Google, Apple and a few others can track you even if you think you turned your phone off.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

          "besides, it's NOBODY'S BUSINESS where you are, except YOURS. "Big Nanny" can KISS my HAIRY FREEDOM LOVING ASS!"

          Best argument for a long time for other Americans having guns to protect themself.

          YOU are OUR ENEMY.

        5. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

          > "Big Nanny" can KISS my HAIRY FREEDOM LOVING ASS!

          I double dog dare you to go to Singapore and take that attitude. Seriously.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

            It doesn't seem to bother brexiters...

    4. bombastic bob Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

      "It's time to track people's smartphones"

      that's a reason NOT to have a so-called "smart" phone. And I leave my dumb-phone OFF unless I need to call someone [for an emergency, most likely, the only reason to have one on me as I see it].

      If I want to know where I am, I'll read a map, thanks... (and I can print directions to wherever before I leave).

      I need a *finger* icon with the caption "TRACK THIS!"

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

        "And I leave my dumb-phone OFF unless I need to call someone [for an emergency, most likely, the only reason to have one on me as I see it]."

        That's a pretty selfish attitude. You don't seem to be taking into account that someone might want to contact YOU in an EMERGENCY.

        1. myhandler

          Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

          Who going to want to contact him?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

            Ouch!

    5. Zarno Bronze badge

      Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

      IMEI is still tied to you.

      Sucks, but true.

      1. JetSetJim Silver badge

        Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

        IMEI = International Mobile Equipment Identity - aka the handset. Nowt to do with the SIM, which contains the IMSI, which is ties to you (subject to being acquired in a time/place where legislation requires you to prove this)

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

          Exactly. When you put the IMEI and IMSI together, and your device obligingly sends that to your network provider, which stores it in the database of never gets deleted, they now have a pretty good method of identifying information--if you replace the SIM in another device, they'll find you. If you use someone else's SIM in the original device, that provider can coordinate to identify you. Of course there's some noise with devices sold secondhand, but it wouldn't be hard to identify your traffic if I had access to the providers' databases. How concerned you are about this will depend primarily on your reasons not to want to be tracked, your general paranoia level, and how likely you think it is that the various organizations who want it have access to these databases (such organizations including your country's surveillance service, other countries' surveillance services, people who like selling data on you, and people who broke in through an insecure system). For many, it's not all that concerning, but it's useful to know what data exists to stay alert for potential privacy and security risks.

          1. JetSetJim Silver badge

            Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

            Sure, if you have access to the HLR you can pull an individual's records if you know the imsi or imei. But if you wanted to hide, buy a PAYG SIM and a second hand phone, top up with cash by buying the prepay cards will in advance of needing them so that any CCTV would have rolled off the system. Equally you wouldn't use it very often, or you would change them frequently. Just like in the films :)

      2. e^iπ+1=0

        IMEI is still tied to you.

        New phone, who dis?

      3. Zarno Bronze badge

        Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

        To alleviate some confusion my short initial response may have caused:

        The CDMA carriers (VZW/Sprint in US, others elsewhere), who did not use a SIM like the GSM (TDMA/FDMA) carriers (ATT/T-Mobile in US) used, would rely on an MEID to identify the device on the network.

        The MEID was frequently the IMEI with the last digit truncated off.

        You had to type the MEID in to a website/recite it over a different phone to a support person, then wait for activation when switching the device to a different account. Many carriers also had a special number you called to activate, where the MEID automatically tied to the account when credentials were verified.

        LTE uses OFDM, and usually an IMEI/IMSI combo, with the IMSI provided by either a SIM or software simulation of one. Apple and Google use soft-SIM in some phones if memory serves.

        Quite a few handsets will still connect to a network for emergency services call (911/999), using the IMEI/MEID in absence of a SIM.

        CDMA handsets (VZW 3G known for sure) will try to connect to their main network on powerup, and the back-end will either allow or deny service based on if the MEID is in the providers database.

        The switchover from 3G/LTE as needed, provisions for roaming, and cell site handover while moving means the cellular modem will always be trying to connect to something. If it wasn't, the system wouldn't be as robust. The triangulation based on which towers can pick up the handset signal also pinpoints you, closer than you may care to think.

        Smart vs Legacy doesn't really come into play much.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

          In my case, it's quite a bit simpler than that. First of all, I was responding directly to Professor Marylouise McLaws of the World Health Organization who said we should all be required to click on an app on a smart phone when directed to do so by that app. I don't have a smart phone, don't run any apps, and thus can never click on that app. This is not subject to change.

          Not included in the thinking in my original is the fact that I rarely carry my portable phone at all. I don't like being electronically leashed. Being at the beck and call of damn near everybody, 24/7, is far, far more annoying than not having a phone available to me whenever I want one. Very, very, very rare emergencies included[0]. In fact, the only time I make sure to carry one is if I'm planning on driving (or flying) more than a couple hundred miles from home, and/or staying overnight.

          This is hardly a new thought on my part, see my post from over 8 years ago: https://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/containing/1319532

          [0] I can't remember the last time I had such an emergency when I wasn't at home and in easy reach of a land-line. Can you? Accidents on the freeway, reporting wildfires, and the like don't count ... there are always plenty of happily tethered consumers to call in such rare events.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

      I do but I may reconsider.

      I am perfectly willing to do what is needed. I expect that I will be wanted as I work in a hospital but if I end up self isolating, I do not need to be monitored as if I am in East Germany.

      Monitor the roads to deal with terminally stupid ar*eh**es driving wherever they please. Monitor town centres to deal with everything from crime to twits panic buying hundreds of loo rolls. Please let us keep our TV cameras in hospitals to keep us safe here. You start monitoring my reasonable and socially responsible activities and I will not be so keen.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

        The problem there is that while (I believe) the great majority are behaving like grownups, there are always going to be a few dickheads who are spoiling it for everybody. Witness yesterday's crowds in Snowdonia National Park or just about anywhere in America.

        There is no technological solution for detecting adulting (or lack thereof) as far as I can see apart from monitoring everybody and picking up the strays.

        I'd be in favour of it if it was part of emergency powers and was put back in the box afterwards; but the problem is that these things rarely are. And we've had the police and spooks whining for access to our private data for so long that you just can't trust the fuckers.

        With irresponsible fuckwits on one side and power crazed lying twats on the other, it's a difficult call.

        I strongly suspect that we're all being monitored like that anyway.

    7. Imhotep Silver badge

      Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

      Sounds like WHO sees China as a model to follow.

      An interesting article below on cell phone use in China, how they are needed for access to government services, the drop in cell phones since December.

      https://www.theepochtimes.com/the-closing-of-21-million-cell-phone-accounts-in-china-may-suggest-a-high-ccp-virus-death-toll_3281291.html

      1. aks Bronze badge

        Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

        I don't trust The Epoch Times as it's the mouthpiece of Falun Gong, a truly weird bunch of religious nutters. Banned by China.

        1. Imhotep Silver badge

          Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

          Yes, banned and discredited by China. Perhaps you shouldn't read it.

          I find the paper provides evenhanded, verifiable reporting on the whole.

        2. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

          In this case the link to numbers from the chinese government which verify the claim

          it's impossible to verify _why_ there's a sudden reduction in numbers, but it's definitely there

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

        "Sounds like WHO sees China as a model to follow."

        Chinese and other east asians have vivid memories of SARS to remind them of what happens if you don't quarantine and play alone with the isolation guidelines. Nobody wants a repeat. There's no need for "Da Authoratahs" to get tetchy because your own neighbours will beat the living shit out of you if you put them in danger.

        Europe/Americas/Africa/Pacific all missed that wake up call and are paying the price of having done so.

        What's happened in Italy is likely to merely be a prelude and it should be noted that reports are saying that Singapore's found that MOST of their imported Covid cases came from the UK - which means it's likely already widespread in the population and hasn't run through the incubation period yet (not that any meaningful testing is done in the UK unless someone is very ill. S'pore is testing pretty much EVERYONE who steps off a plane)

        There have been repeated calls for the last 50 years to be prepared for pandemics (including maintaining rotating stockpiles of PPE, etc) but any attempts to actually do so have been repeatedly blocked on cost grounds and most stockpiles that existed were decimated after 1980 when Thatcherite thinking took over the world (the same mentality would shut down fire brigades as unnecessary or privatise them into a subscription service as the pre-1666 London fire brigade was) - the usual beancounter attitude of "hideous waste of resources", etc etc.

        1. fraunthall

          Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

          Whoever wrote that is obviously either a socialist/commie lover or just plain stupid. It is well known that WHO, is completely in thrall to China and thereby complicit in the spread of the Corona plague across the world. The fascists have already won. Measures to make people follow safe practices are valid, but the constant monitoring of people's whereabouts, spying on their communications by whatever means, is already being done. You slugs in the UK are constantly being monitored by cameras on every corner. We are all living in a police state. Hitler won the war, but it took 80 years and advanced technology to complete it. We are are own worst enemies. Smartphone technology is an open Casandra's box. The plague, as evil as it is, seems like a just punishment for such ignorance and stupidity. Actual intelligence has little to do with it. Turn off your phones (put them in metal boxes that won't let electronic signals through) and go back to land lines.

      3. Neiljohnuk

        Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

        "Sounds like WHO sees China as a model to follow." Unsurprising considering just how much 'influence' China now has with the WHO.

    8. vtcodger Silver badge

      Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

      "But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone."

      Then you won't have to leave it at home should you decide to go out. (Why would you go out other than for some reason that's permitted anyway? And if you did decide to make an illicit trip, why would you take a location tracker along?)

      Aside from the civil liberties aspect of this idea, it strikes me as being just a bit clueless. There are almost certainly far better ways to encourage isolation and discourage virus transmission.

      1. SkippyBing Silver badge

        Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

        'There are almost certainly far better ways to encourage isolation and discourage virus transmission.'

        Well telling people to do it seems to have achieved f**k all.

        1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

          Because legally competent adults should not be *told* what to do. Educate, explain, and persuade - sure. If you need to tell people how to behave, and then use strong-arm tactics to enforce it, you didn't explain properly.

          In the current case, people outside cities don't understand why we need to be subject to the same restrictions as those cities. My village is around 800 people, and residents are walking around as normal, as they should be. I can guarantee our mental and physical health will be better in 6 and 12 months than those places that blindly enforce the rules.

    9. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

      "Enjoy the isolation room in the hospital basement / local police station / quarantine camp, I hope you won't miss your Netflix / TV / Xbox etc" is what I'd say.

      Anyone refusing to follow the isolation rules is frankly stupid.

      These people should be subject to an hour a day swimming in a sewage farm covered in paper cuts for a month. It's the only way they will learn about infectious diseases.

    10. Cave-Homme

      Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

      The totalitarian fokkers will microchip you like a dog.

    11. e^iπ+1=0

      Re: But I don't have a so-called "smart" phone.

      I do; however I don't have any included data, also no free texts / no credit.

      How may I participate?

  2. Bloodbeastterror

    Naomi Klein

    The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism

    I've commented here before - if you read this and your blood doesn't boil, you haven't read it properly.

    And here we go again - the next opportunity to diminish our freedoms still further.

    "We're doing this temporarily to increase your safety."

    Time and the virus pass...

    "Yes, I know we originally said it was temporary, but things have changed."

    1. Fred Dibnah Silver badge

      Re: Naomi Klein

      For people who prefer the video format over the written word, she also made an excellent documentary:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3B5qt6gsxY

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Naomi Klein

      Yep, what will happen is that the virus won't quite go away. It'll go in lingering mode, just like the terrorism. Every few weeks some scare will crop up here or there. They'll keep us on our toes by regularly raising the 'threat level'.

      And of course they will want the tracking to remain so that "it can be used immediately if needed". Meanwhile, it'll be expanded to tons of other uses 'because the data is there anyway'. That's how you get Chinese levels of surveillance in "free" nations.

      1. NerryTutkins

        Re: Naomi Klein

        I think you'll find that unlike the terrorist bogeymen, this virus is 100% real, and its effects are able to be mapped and predicted with a fairly good degree of accuracy.

        It ain't lingering. It's exploding. Just watch the numbers over the next few days if you have any doubt.

        I find it quite amazing how many of the people who think this virus is some kind of hoax, or no big deal, are the same people who were crapping themselves about the 'emergency' of mexicans, demanding a wall and lock down over muslim immigration.

        1. LucreLout Silver badge

          Re: Naomi Klein

          I think you'll find that unlike the terrorist bogeymen, this virus is 100% real

          I can assure you the terrorists are 100% real. So can millions of other ordinary people quietly going about their business on 9/11.

          I find it quite amazing how many of the people who think this virus is some kind of hoax, or no big deal

          Indeed. The number of people congregating in my local park at the weekend was unexpected. I mean, yes my family was there too, but unlike many others we were distancing ourselves from everyone else. My local park ain't like the ones on telly in London, there was plenty of space, just plenty of groups ignoring the whole keep your distance message.

          1. Anne-Lise Pasch

            Re: Naomi Klein

            "So can millions of other ordinary people"

            And yet you keep voting them back into power.

            1. LucreLout Silver badge

              Re: Naomi Klein

              And yet you keep voting them back into power.

              As opposed to labour, the most spiteful, racist, misogynist, homophobic, ageist and economically illiterate party in the history of parliament? You're damn right I do!

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Naomi Klein

                What we need is some sort of "I don't trust any of them as far as I can spit a hedgehog" box on voting forms.

                1. DiViDeD Silver badge

                  Re: Naomi Klein

                  What we need is some sort of "I don't trust any of them as far as I can spit a hedgehog" box on voting forms.

                  That will never happen. Here in Arsetrailer, voting is compulsory, yet we still don't have a "None of the Above" option on the forms.

                  1. Alan Brown Silver badge

                    Re: Naomi Klein

                    >> yet we still don't have a "None of the Above" option on the forms.

                    It's called a "spoiled ballot"

              2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

                Re: Naomi Klein

                I think a look at history will show that spite, misogyny, racism, homophobia, ageism and economic illiteracy have been the preserve of the Conservative Party. Are you upset that another party stole your script?

                It is time for a new centre-left party in the UK.

                1. LucreLout Silver badge

                  Re: Naomi Klein

                  I think a look at history will show that spite

                  Biggest parliamentary majority in history, yet wait until the very dying days of their time in power to bring in a new 50% rate of tax? Spite. Nothing but spite.

                  The Conservatives stand for a fairer country - you keep more of what you earn and I keep more of what I earn, instead of you just expecting me to do the work for both of us.

                  misogyny

                  Look at the way labour treat its female MPs! And god help then is they're Elected While Jewish!

                  Look at the current "leadership" contest. I mean, its like a "youngest cotagenarian contest" really. And still, still the middle aged white man is in the lead.

                  Compare that to 2 female leaders. 2 female PMs. Women in the Conservative party are treated with respect.

                  racism

                  First, labour really did come for the Jews. Its only the second party in history to be investigated by the equalities commission, a commission is set up! The other was the BNP.

                  Compared to the Conservatives where everyone gets a fair shake - being Jewish isn't a career death sentence.

                  homophobia

                  Biggest majority in history and refused time and again to allow gay marriage.

                  Conservatives legalized gay marriage with a wafer thin majority in a coalition!

                  economic illiteracy

                  Every labour government in history has:

                  - inherited a better economy than it left

                  - inherited lower debt than it left

                  - ended in depression or a recession so big it only looks small compared to a global pandemic

                  Every single time the Conservatives get the job of piecing the economy back together. Every time they do, the useful idiots elect labour again and destroy the whole thing again.

                  And you talk of history? You've learned nothing from it.

                  It is time for a new centre-left party in the UK.

                  Yes, yes it is. But better still would be an actual centre party - left leanings but who understood economics, human nature, and enterprise.

                  1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

                    Re: Naomi Klein

                    I did specify "historically", and I stand by it. Labour, for much of its history, stood for correcting the imbalance between wealth and worker. It was a major supporter of women's voting rights. Many of its founders were Jews. The Labour Party of today is nothing to do with its roots. However, the Conservative Party adheres to its principles regardless (that isn't praise, by the way).

                    1. codejunky Silver badge

                      Re: Naomi Klein

                      @Intractable Potsherd

                      "However, the Conservative Party adheres to its principles regardless"

                      I wish. The Tories have moved so far left they are New Labour (which was the express intention of Cameron/Osborne to get those voters) abandoning a centre right for quite some distance. Where is the low tax small government party? The more market less regulation party?

                      Instead we have some of the highest tax rates for decades and austerity was redefined to pissing a little less money than was planned in the huge spending plans.

              3. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Naomi Klein

                "As opposed to labour, the most spiteful, racist, misogynist, homophobic, ageist and economically illiterate party in the history of parliament? You're damn right I do!"

                As we are already seeing Labour didn't object to the 'new' lockdown legislation, they're looking eagerly to the future when they may make use of 'our' collective willingness to be suppressed and reactivating the legislation.

          2. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: Naomi Klein

            "I think you'll find that unlike the terrorist bogeymen, this virus is 100% real, and its effects are able to be mapped and predicted with a fairly good degree of accuracy."

            The terrorism threat exists. There are people who want to destroy things we really need and who hold no regard for innocent lives. Those of us who argue against the overreaction don't do it on the basis that there is no terrorism risk. We argue on the basis that the reaction destroys far too much for what it benefits us in regards to the terrorism risk. The same can be true here.

            Should we have increased efforts to prevent people leaving self-isolation? Maybe. It depends on where these people are and what they're doing. Should we do this with individualized tracking? Something to consider in a measured, thoughtful way where people have to ask what the downsides are and think about them for quite a while before saying yes. Should we do it with general tracking? Almost certainly not. Should we do it with 1984-style telescreens? Not on your life. All of the preceding solutions could work, so if we agree the problem needs to be solved, we still need to exert effort on finding the best, or at the very least a good solution. Finding a solution and blindly agreeing to it despite all the potential disastrous side-effects is extremely irresponsible.

        2. teknopaul Silver badge

          Re: Naomi Klein

          Its no hoax here in Spain. I know people with Covid, I also know people who broke cuarantine rules because they did not know the rules, my self included. Volutarily self reporting location and automatic reminders might help reduce that.

          I still dont know what the actual rules are. Police on the street telling people. Thats unnecessary human contact due to lack of information, in the information age. I would welcome an official app that tracks me and tells me what I should and should not be doing right now.

          Location tracking when you are legally obliged to be at home is not a privacy issue. Moving around right now your own business.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Naomi Klein

          I don't mean right now of course. I know it's real now. And such an app may be needed. I mean when it's all said and done.

          Then the virus will become an imaginary boogeyman still popping up its head in some mini outbreaks here and there that will be blasted all over the news as a major scare. Just like they did with the terrorists. For years there was a terrorist lurking behind every tree and secret measures were implemented to monitor everyone. Illegal measures, but after all the Snowden revelations what happened? They're still here.

          However nobody questioned the fact that the 9/11 terrorists were already being monitored and on watch lists, but the intelligence community screwed this up. The existing powers were sufficient to prevent this but the bureaucracy was too large to deal with it. And has only been increased since. See the revelations by Coleen Rowley.

          I have no issues with a temporary tracking app. But the problem is, governments don't like releasing power even when it's no longer needed for the original purpose.

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: Naomi Klein

            "For years there was a terrorist lurking behind every tree and secret measures were implemented to monitor everyone."

            The security agencies have been very good at predicting 11 of the last 3 terrorist attacks, whilst actually thwarting 3 more genuine ones and authoritarians gleefully leapt on the chance to add more rules - Stalin's attributed as saying something to the effect that if you don't actually HAVE a terrorist threat then manufacturing one will have the population clamouring for more control laws (He also pointed out you don't need to control the voters to throw elections, merely the people counting the votes)

            Unlike terrorists, virii don't read the Daily Fail, don't listen to politicial speeches and _ANYONE_ can be a carrier, knowingly or not.

            The best defense against terrorists is a very strong light on their belief systems along with pointing and laughing. By changing your life around to "protect yourself" against them, you're doing exactly what they're trying to achieve (The current lot especially - they hate our freedoms and the reaction to what they've done has been to take away our freedoms - falling neatly in line with their desire and worldview)

            The best defense against infection is vaccination, but when that doesn't exist you either try to control the rate of spread for ones which are highly contagious (airborne), or stop the spread for ones that are less contagious (touch, etc - like Ebola)

            The biggest problem - as pointed out - is that having grabbed extra powers for an emergency, they're seldom ceded back (Federalisation of the USA government for World war 2 and the ensuing cold war being one example. The 9/11 terrorist attacks were a godsend inasmuch as not having to devolve power back to state levels and a "War on Terror" is the next best thing to a "Forever War" that you can get as terrorism is a symptom of a problem, not the problem itself.)

            In the case of the UK - it's rather telling that the emergency powers bill being put forward for dealing with Covid would grant extraordinary powers to the government for _2 YEARS_ before review, rather than 6 months and that the levels of powers being sought read rather like the Nazi Party's enabling act in 1934

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Naomi Klein

              You know that using the word "virii" makes you look like an idiot, not the expert you are pretending to be, right?

              The word in English is viruses. There is no Latin variation on the theme.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Naomi Klein

            "But the problem is, governments don't like releasing power even when it's no longer needed for the original purpose."

            And then there is the inevitable 'mission creep' once they realise just what else it can be used for.

        4. Bloodbeastterror

          Re: Naomi Klein

          @NerryTutkins

          "I think you'll find that unlike the terrorist bogeymen, this virus is 100% real"

          I don't think you've grasped the meaning of "the shock doctrine". It doesn't imply that the events upon which power-hungry manipulators seize are imaginary - they are genuine events which the manipulators use in order to twist the knife a bit more into our freedom. "Terrorists and murders are at your gates. We're here to help. We just need you to follow these rules." And the populace, frightened by the hysteria whipped up by a docile press, say "Yes, ok then."

          "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." Benjamin Franklin

      2. Cynic_999 Silver badge

        Re: Naomi Klein

        The government is sometimes a bit sluggish about removing temporary measures. Take income tax for example. That was a temporary measure needed to be imposed for the duration of the Napoleonic war. I have no doubt that it will therefore be removed any day now ...

    3. NerryTutkins

      Re: Naomi Klein

      To be fair, this is clearly a massive threat to huge numbers of people, as evidenced by what is happening in Italy. That's basically where the UK is going to be in the next two weeks, because it seems the UK government is still thinking it can kind of ride this out.

      I understand the risk of the government enacting emergency powers. But it's clear that this is not just some secret squirrel people telling us there are all manner of nasty foreigners plotting to kill us (but presenting no evidence other than 'trust us'). This is a pandemic that can be modelled, and you only need to watch the deaths accelerating to see how entirely predictable the trajectory is. This is no longer a theoretical risk.

      I do find it quite ironic to observe, in the US in particular, how the very same people who shat their pants daily over terrorists and mexicans, and demanded a wall, seem so chilled about something which is now killing hundreds of Americans, and by next week, will surely be killing thousands, and then 100s of thousands.

      1. JetSetJim Silver badge

        Re: Naomi Klein

        Saw a study by a data cruncher who has come to the conclusion that if the Yanks did absolutely nothing (and it seems like this is not the case), then they'd be looking at 10mill dead. Do absolutely everything and you can pull that number down into the low numbers of thousands.

        1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

          Re: Naomi Klein

          "

          Do absolutely everything and you can pull that number down into the low numbers of thousands.

          "

          Maybe, at least for this cycle (it will quite likely become an annual disease like normal flu). But how many millions will die as a direct or indirect result of the measures being taken? Children in some countries are already starving because their parents have lost their jobs. Not every country can borrow a few hundred billion or print some extra money at the drop of a hat. Those countries where many jobs depend on the tourist industry are particularly hard hit.

          It is not a zero-sum game.

          1. JetSetJim Silver badge

            Re: Naomi Klein

            Agreed, it's not zero sum. In the UK at least, however, I'd hope the risk to people from just staying indoors and shopping as little as possible is moderately minimal - I can't speak for other countries, although would hope that us in the richer countries at least try to help them out.

            I suspect the US would not lose @10m to such restrictive measures either.

            1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

              Re: Naomi Klein

              The risk to people just staying indoors is loss of production and huge loss of jobs leading to economic collapse and financial ruin. Perhaps you see that as "moderately minimal".

          2. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: Naomi Klein

            "Children in some countries are already starving because their parents have lost their jobs."

            Uh yeah. After the 1918 epidemic, tens of millions were starving AND orphans too. Several million apiece in Europe and the USA

            You're damned right it's not a zero-sum game. The costs of NOT taking action are _far higher_ than of intervening - allowing tens of millions to die is how you foment a whole new cycle of terrorism and war.

            1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

              Re: Naomi Klein

              "

              allowing tens of millions to die

              "

              But unlike the 1918 epidemic this will not BE tens of millions even if very moderate action is taken. And "whole new cycle of terrorism and war" is also brought about by economic collapse.

              There is a middle road between doing nothing and going into headless chicken "close everything and damn the cost" mode.

      2. Cederic Silver badge

        Re: Naomi Klein

        it seems the UK government is still thinking it can kind of ride this out

        That's strange. I thought the UK Government was following a declared strategy that involves continuous escalation, timed for maximum impact, using measures planned for weeks ago in addition to incorporating new information and taking into account resource availability. They're then supporting it with a range of economic measures never attempted before in this country.

        Maybe we have a different interpretation of riding this out.

        1. LucreLout Silver badge

          Re: Naomi Klein

          That's strange. I thought the UK Government was following a declared strategy that involves continuous escalation, timed for maximum impact, using measures planned for weeks ago in addition to incorporating new information and taking into account resource availability. They're then supporting it with a range of economic measures never attempted before in this country.

          Amazing isn't it - the amount of hard of thinking NPCs that demand we all "listen to the experts" or "follow the science" suddenly get their nickers in a twist when the science and the experts are advocating something they don't like or agree with.

          The UK is following the science and has the best people in the country to make decisions stood either side of Boris at every press conference. This is the very definition of a science driven expert approach. Now, will it be seen to have been the wrong approach with the passage of time? Who knows, possibly, but based on what knowledge and data were available at any given time the experts did the best they could.

          Most of the same people would be lauding the approach with just one change - Corbyn stood between the experts. That's the real source of the complaints - that labour were roundly trounced at the election and the PM of the moment is Boris rather than their preferred lame duck.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Naomi Klein

            Whilst moaning that people were attempting political point scoring, you ended up doing the same.

            1. Wellyboot Silver badge

              Re: Naomi Klein

              If you want real point scoring - the US senate has this morning vetoed the $1.8Tn (yes trillion) emergency package because $500Bn was controlled by the treasury dept as a bail out fund.

              This is not the time for political brinkmanship.

              1. Tom 38 Silver badge

                Re: Naomi Klein

                the US senate has this morning vetoed the $1.8Tn (yes trillion) emergency package because $500Bn was controlled by the treasury dept as a bail out fund re-election slush fund.

                FTFY

          2. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: Naomi Klein

            "The UK is following the science and has the best people in the country to make decisions stood either side of Boris at every press conference. "

            in a word, BULLSHIT - and the use of the words "herd immunity" should have had meters pegging. That's a word that only entered the lexicon in the age of mass vaccinations and only has relevance in the context of a vaccinated population.

            There is no vaccination for Covid - and even if there was one it mutates so fast that what works now is unlikely to work in 6 months time (that's always been the problem with rhino- and coronavirii) - and you can become ill _again_ even if you had it previously.

            The UK was following a trajectory which ICL plotted and found to be so ruinous that even the Trump government stopped and U-turned. As it is we probably have at least 20k deaths locked in thanks to political bombastic dogmatism and are highly likely to make Italy look like a prelude to the main act.

            The USA has _massive_ resources to bring to bear on treatment of problems such as Covid if it chooses to do so - as can be seen by the near instant conversion of all the parking garage levels at Johns Hopkins University Hospital to treatment wards. The UK does not. We're likely to need 10-20,000 respirators PER MONTH for the next 4 months - the UK has 5000 and 4000 are currently already in use for critical care patients (on top of that, there's a complete lack of staff trained in dealing with the things. I for one don't want to be intubated by a gynacologist who last did any of that as an intern 20 years ago)

            Spain has already discovered that underpaid care home staff abandoned ship and left residents to die when infections hit the homes. The problem will occur here too as they've been even more badly paid - and I can't say I blame them. Filipino staff in particular are being bunked 4-6 to a bedroom in "employer provided accomodation" charged at high rates whilst being minimum wage with unrecorded overtime, with massive debts to handlers back home and being expected to send 80% of their gross pay back to family in the Phils - they won't report the illegality because they need the work, but putting their lives on the line is pushing it way too far when they're the sole breadwinner for the family back home and they won't stand for it.

            On top of that it's just come out that councils here expect to draft in unqualified general office/administration staff to act as carers in the event of outbreaks in care homes knocking out the existing carers - the general reaction has been that they will resign en masse if told to do that.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=en06PYwvpbI is recommended viewing (Royal Institution lecture series 2018 - "Are we ready for the next pandemic?")

        2. JetSetJim Silver badge

          Re: Naomi Klein

          > That's strange. I thought the UK Government was following a declared strategy that involves continuous escalation, timed for maximum impact, using measures planned for weeks ago in addition to incorporating new information and taking into account resource availability.

          That sounds like a line from a spin-doctor. Maximum impact would have been shutting down quicker, slowing the infection rate trajectory. This was known about by senior figures in January and f*** all was done, which is now leading to the NHS being swamped unneccessarily. Yes, there's an issue with locking down for sufficient time to stamp on this thing - people will get tired of it and break the quarantine. This will kill more people. The govmt chose to go with "behavioural science" rather than epidemiology, and thought "herd immunity" to a mutating virus was a thing they could obtain when everyone else in the world, particularly those with a couple of weeks more experience of CV19, said otherwise

          1. MGJ

            Re: Naomi Klein

            Rubbish. To implement a full lockdown like that you'd have to suspend democracy. Listen to the experts; they didn't ask people to isolate in January because a) it was pointless, as no one at that point had the virus to pass on and b) because in the middle of the crisis folk will go stir crazy and ignore the rules so any self-isolation has to be for the minimum time possible; if you add two months on at the start it means its less likely that a three month quarantine period will work. Not everyone has a nice house and resources to hole up in.

        3. Spanners Silver badge
          Flame

          Re: Naomi Klein

          I thought the UK Government was following a declared strategy

          It was, but the Daily Mail and the Telegraph did not approve. That's, for example, why schools are now closed. As soon as Boris announced the policy, social media was full of idiots parroting the amazingly bad idea that closing schools was a great idea.

          Now we have kids with their grandparents, older kids playing with their mates, kids off to relatives and so on. In theory, "key workers" are fine as we can stick ours into the schools as a childminding service.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Naomi Klein

          "I thought the UK Government was following a declared strategy that involves continuous escalation, timed for maximum impact, using measures planned for weeks ago in addition to incorporating new information and taking into account resource availability."

          Indeed, the NHS briefed senior medics on Government plans 3 weeks before the first requests for people to stay at home, noting if 'nudge's' didn't work (and knowing it wouldn't with some) legislation was already being drawn up.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Naomi Klein

        by next week, will surely be killing thousands, and then 100s of thousands.

        2.8m Americans die every year, 600,000 of them from heart disease.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Naomi Klein

          This. Go back and look at articles from the Swine Flu.

          Government back then was saying 'we'll get 70K dead at worst, and 3k dead in a best case scenario' - this was in the UK. final stats... not even 1000 dead. SARS was identical, as was the bird flu. 2019 had 1800 deaths in the UK from influenza alone... until we've passed that number then I don't see any cause to panic. People die all the time, and they die from disease all the time, but the way the media is going on about it you'd think half the population is going to succumb to this disease... which it obviously won't....

          1. LucreLout Silver badge

            Re: Naomi Klein

            Government back then was saying 'we'll get 70K dead at worst, and 3k dead in a best case scenario' - this was in the UK. final stats... not even 1000 dead. SARS was identical, as was the bird flu.

            And yet still a friend lost his father to bird flu - a man I held in enormous respect.

            People die all the time, and they die from disease all the time, but the way the media is going on about it you'd think half the population is going to succumb to this disease... which it obviously won't....

            Quite possibly 10% of us will though, unless we distance and or lock down. Uncomfortably for many of the young is the new knowledge that they may not be as immune tot his virus as they had assumed, and it won't just be the old that die. Though quite frankly I consider your temporary loss of ability to sit in the pub a price well worth paying if it keeps my folks alive (underlying conditions you see - they get this they die).

            There must be many families with immunocompromised children that are living moment to moment in sheer terror, and for those people I am certainly happy to forgo a few Thursdays in the Dog & Duck, work from home, and home school my kids.

            I want you to be right and this to be overblown more than you can possibly imagine, but you're not. And by the time you realise that, it would otherwise be too late for a lot of folk. So take one for the team, in good graces, or accept that there is no society and devil take the hindmost.

            1. Oddlegs

              Re: Naomi Klein

              10% of the population are not going to die. Even the very worst case has mortality at around 1/2%. And yes while young people are not entirely immune they're also vastly more likely to come through an infection than older people.

              If we'd have done nothing it was estimated that 500k would die. That's half a million of the already oldest and weakest in society. The government's own scientific advisors couldn't (or didn't want to) answer how many of those would die anyway in a typical year. Any deaths are clearly terrible but not even the most civilised societies say that all deaths must be avoided no matter what the cost. The cost of the current restrictions in the west, both financially and in terms of civil liberties, are unprecedented. I don't know whether they've gone too far or not, I suspect we'll know in a couple of weeks when we see what the trends are doing, but if lockdowns continue for more than a month I suspect, and hope, we'll see a lot more rational discussion as to exactly what level of lockdowns we want to put ourselves through as a society.

              1. LucreLout Silver badge

                Re: Naomi Klein

                10% of the population are not going to die. Even the very worst case has mortality at around 1/2%. And yes while young people are not entirely immune they're also vastly more likely to come through an infection than older people.

                WHO say 3.4%, but that's before the hospitals get overwhelmed and they start taking ventilators away from the over 65s to give to the young, which they will do because the over 65s are more likely to die form it. In doing so, of course, the death rate would soar.

                That's half a million of the already oldest and weakest in society.

                You say that as though it doesn't matter. Millions of grieving families. And its "oldest and/or weakest" because anyone immuno-compromised is going to be at risk.

                if lockdowns continue for more than a month

                They will. They will have to continue until one of three things happen :-

                A) a vaccine appears, which is likely to be 12 to 18 months

                B) effective treatments emerge, similar to treating but not inoculating against HIV.

                C) the NHS gets itself in order and increases the number of patients it can treat simultaneously such that it doesn't get overran and a low death rate becomes politically acceptable across parliament. The lockdown won't end until labour vote for it.

                None of those things is happening in a month. None of those things is likely within 3 months. You need to understand that any time you spend between now and Xmas not locked down will have been a bonus. This IS the new normal.

                I suspect, and hope, we'll see a lot more rational discussion as to exactly what level of lockdowns we want to put ourselves through as a society

                We will undoubtedly get such a debate, but that isn't coming any time soon and it certainly won't reach a consensus any time this year.

              2. Alan Brown Silver badge

                Re: Naomi Klein

                Even the very worst case has mortality at around 1/2%.

                HOWEVER, 12% of infected are requiring medical treatment beyond oxygen and most of them require mechanical ventilation, which means time in HDU.

                Which means that anyone suffering a heart attack or in a serious car crash, etc in this period is going to be out of luck

                1. LucreLout Silver badge

                  Re: Naomi Klein

                  Even the very worst case has mortality at around 1/2%.

                  And yet the CFR in Italy is around 7%.

                  The numbers you're thinking of are idealized - if you had unlimited healthcare then yes, 1 or 2%, but nowhere does, and once the ICU gets overwhelmed the death rate soars. Again, we could see the CFR rocket as soon as they ran out of beds and ventilators.

                  The NHS haven't prepared for this - they haven't invested in equipment or training, they've spent on pay and pensions instead. It's going to get completely overrun. As it stands last night, our CFR is around 5% and that's before the infections take off like a scalded cat because the mouthbreathers are ignoring lock-down because liberty.

                  The UK CFR is currently around 5%. 422 / 8077 * 100 = 5.2% And we've not ran out of ventilators yet.

                  https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public

                  1. Alan Brown Silver badge

                    Re: Naomi Klein

                    "And yet the CFR in Italy is around 7%."

                    For cases which are being hospitalised yes....

                    The problem is that you can't count cases if you don't measure them and the vast majority of cases aren't being measured.

                    Italy is complicated by the issue that not all deaths linked to Covid outside hospitals are being recorded as Covid deaths

          2. JetSetJim Silver badge
            Paris Hilton

            Re: Naomi Klein

            Would you rather over-react or under-react to this situation we find ourselves in?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Naomi Klein

              I'd rather react appropriately, without head-in-the sand ignorance or sky-is-falling panic. Pretty much as the UK government is doing.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Naomi Klein

                Or perhaps what you really mean is

                "fucking hell, look at my pension pot, can the old folks die already because the FTSE isn't going to recover with everyone sat at home"

            2. Cynic_999 Silver badge

              Re: Naomi Klein

              Of the two, under-reacting will have the least worse long-term consequences

          3. Wellyboot Silver badge

            Re: Naomi Klein

            By the time there's a 1,000 UK dead there'll be another 3-4,000 ready to join them.

            Look at how the number increasd in Italy in the last two weeks.

            1. LucreLout Silver badge

              Re: Naomi Klein

              Look at how the number increased in Italy in the last two weeks.

              It genuinely astounds me how many people don't see this, or forget that Italy has a much better health service than our NHS. Even if you believe in British Exceptionalism, you're going to need to believe real hard in 12 days time when the death toll in the UK reaches the Italian peak.

              I've seen nothing that indicates we're better prepared for this or that we have a significantly better strategy; after all, the point of our strategy is to sustain the lock down through the peak with the predicate that it will become unsustainable over a longer period than a few months.

              We are taking a science based approach, but thus far I've seen nothing to indicate that the science is playing out the way the scientists projected.

              We already know for a fact that the CFR for this soars as soon as the ICU beds or ventilator supplies run out, and Italy had double the number we started with. Our CFR can reasonably be expected to hit around the same 7% as Italy, even given recent developments regarding low tech mass producible ventilators, with a wholly possible overshoot taking us nearer to the 10% worst case scenario.

              NHS staff are, on the whole, procedural thinkers (process followers) rather than goal oriented creative thinkers (outcome driven). Both are useful in different situations, but any "exceptionalism" we display will come from the latter group not the former. The NHS efforts will be valiant and possibly even heroic, but unless some reason appears for our progression to diverge on the downside from Italy, they are going to get completely overrun.

              Unless something generic like HCQ is shown to work in a week, and we happen to have piles of it laying around, we are going to have a rather serious problem by next weekend.

          4. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Naomi Klein

            >People die all the time, and they die from disease all the time, but the way the media is going on about it you'd think half the population is going to succumb to this disease... which it obviously won't....

            The intention is for 50~60% of the population to 'succumb' to SARS-CoV-2 so that we gain the benefit of herd immunity, the only question is how many of these people and when will require hospital treatment and so avoid dying from SARS-CoV-2.

            From friends who are currently in self-isolation having returned from Italy and recovering from 'something(*) say you most certainly know you've got something unpleasant - it isn't like a normal cold or flu.

            (*) Only those admitted to hospital are actually tested for SARS-CoV-2, so the stat's given out by the media for the number of cases only covers hospital admissions - namely the most extreme and life threatening cases...

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Naomi Klein

              "Only those admitted to hospital are actually tested for SARS-CoV-2, so the stat's given out by the media for the number of cases only covers hospital admissions - namely the most extreme and life threatening cases..."

              Which with the high rate of deaths among them means they can use it to frighten the public.

          5. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Naomi Klein

            2019 had 1800 deaths in the UK from influenza alone

            It's also important to avoid apples/oranges comparisons. That's the figures for extra deaths due to 'flu, it doesn't include the people with 'flu who would have died anyway. Most of the figures for COVID-19 at the moment cover all deaths among infected people, not just additional ones.

            1. teknopaul Silver badge

              Re: Naomi Klein

              Its interesting that this predominantly uk forum is coming up with the same debate that spanish forums had two weeks ago.

              "They were going to die anyway" is always true but it is not what you say to someone that has just lost a friend or relative.

              Get ready for that.

              1. Alan Brown Silver badge

                Re: Naomi Klein

                > "They were going to die anyway" is always true but it is not what you say to someone that has just lost a friend or relative.

                We're all going to die eventually. I'd prefer my day wasn't tomorrow thankyouverymuch.

              2. jake Silver badge

                Re: Naomi Klein

                "this predominantly uk forum"

                Post proof or retract.

        2. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Naomi Klein

          "2.8m Americans die every year, 600,000 of them from heart disease."

          Dump an extra 2 million into that system and see how it copes - and there's every liklihood the USA will see a million extra deaths due to intransigence in the handling of this crisis (right down to pulling the stunt of not having testing kits to report infections, so they don't have any infection rates to report - and punishing medics who tried to offer tests because it would be bad publicity)

          Just like every other production line, the death industry is fine tuned for the standard rates. When things get out of whack you get army truck coffin convoys and ice rinks used as mortuaries

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Naomi Klein

      "Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety". Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

      Hindsight maybe 2020...

  3. Stumpy Silver badge

    What we need, before we start tracking individuals by use of phones that they may, or may not, have with them is a consistent method of testing and reporting infection and mortality rates across the globe.

    For example, Italy's mortality rate is so high because everyone who dies that is infected with CoV-19 is recorded as having died of the disease rather than the true cause of death.

    As it stands at the moment, all this comparison of how well or how badly countries are doing in the fight against the virus is comparing apples with oranges.

    1. Test Man

      Yesterday, Boris' aide said pretty much this.

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge

        And in Italy a lot of homes are multi-generational, so granny can't isolate.

    2. Blergh

      But equally there is the possibility that they haven't been counting enough deaths.

      https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-italy-homes-insigh/uncounted-among-coronavirus-victims-deaths-sweep-through-italys-nursing-homes-idUSKBN2152V0

      "Gori said there had been 164 deaths in his town in the first two weeks of March this year, of which 31 were attributed to the coronavirus. That compares with 56 deaths over the same period last year."

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Megaphone

        accuracy could be improved, disease state measured better, etc. - that is true, but also there is a general lack of accuracy on the INFECTION rate, which can only be confirmed via accurate testing. Since "accurate testing" is expensive, it only makes sense to test people who are at risk and who have related symptoms. Asymptomatic people really don't need to be tested, as long as they are aware that they could spread disease, so they should behave "courteously" and do reasonable precautions, not sneeze on people, and so on.

        It's up to indiv9duals, and NOT "Big Nanny". Treat people as if they are intelligent, and it's a fair bet they'll act like they're intelligent. We don't need a "Big Nanny" to think and control FOR us.

        1. Steve K Silver badge

          Maybe

          Treat people as if they are intelligent, and it's a fair bet they'll act like they're intelligent.

          Unfortunately the crowds flocking to beaches etc. here in the UK (and Spring Break in the US etc., Oz) suggest that intelligence cannot currently be assumed...

          1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

            Re: Maybe

            For much of the population not even underestimated. Friday night and I got a 'going to the pub - come and join us' message, followed on Saturday by an acquaintance asking me whether I could collect him from the local golf club (I assume he had been drinking and had to abandon his vehicle), and this is in Scotland, where very clear messages had been broadcast on Thursday and Friday.

            1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge
              Unhappy

              Re: Maybe

              Stupid is as stupid does. Telling these morons to stay at home is like shouting at a wall. It's either ignorance or arrogance. I'd say a few Darwin's might be looming for these people, but many of them have already propogated their genes so too late for that.

            2. FrogsAndChips Silver badge

              Re: Maybe

              The latest xkcd has never seemed more relevant.

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: Maybe

                It's not really relevant. It's just drawn that way.

          2. JetSetJim Silver badge

            Re: Maybe

            > Unfortunately the crowds flocking to beaches

            Crowds are as intelligent as the least among them

            1. Petalium

              Re: Maybe

              >Crowds are as intelligent as the least among them

              Divided by the number of people in the crowd....

            2. LucreLout Silver badge

              Re: Maybe

              Crowds are as intelligent as the least among them

              The average IQ is 100, with a SD of 15, below 70 is mildly retarded, and above 130 is intelligent. For most intelligent people, every day interactions with average people is functionally the same as an average persons interaction with someone with mild learning difficulties. This is why Individuals can be intelligent, people cannot.

          3. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

            Re: Maybe

            Photos show that most people were 2m apart from people not in their group. Physical distancing was being observed. There was no need for this response except, maybe, targeted on some cities. However, Boris and his crew know that would mean their vote in those places would go down, so we all end up with the same restrictions that will breed resentment and civil disobedience within the month.

          4. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: Maybe

            " intelligence cannot currently be assumed..."

            There's a strong element of "It can't happen to me" and a smattering of "I double dog DARE you to call out the soldiers"

          5. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Maybe

            Unfortunately the crowds flocking to beaches etc. here in the UK (and Spring Break in the US etc., Oz) suggest that intelligence cannot currently be assumed...

            They may well be intelligent - just not give a fuck.

        2. Claverhouse Silver badge

          We don't need a "Big Nanny" to think and control FOR us.

          Actually...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What's the "true" cause of death though? Imagine you had a weak heart but might have had another 20 years in you. Then corona virus comes along and you die of a heart attack. I think it's 50/50 on what killed you, because you can either say your heart gave out and that's why you died, or you can say your heart only gave out because of the corona virus. Furthermore, if thousands more people die of heart attacks after catching corona virus, do we start investigating why the incidence of heart attacks has gone up, or do we accept that it was the virus?

      1. JetSetJim Silver badge
        Pirate

        Imagine you have a weak heart and suffer a heart attack. Imagine first responders are too busy to get to you for over an hour due to other folks in trouble with CV19. You've just died of it without being infected

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The true cause of death if you die with CoV-19 when you wouldn't have otherwise died in that timeframe from your underlying health condition, *IS* CoV-19. Why would you think otherwise? You think someone diabetic who catches CoV-19 and dies should have their cause of death reported as diabetes? Idiot.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Makes no sense

    They'd have to disregard those essential service workers (health care etc) who have been told to work like me.

    Any excuse to bring in more surveillance.

    1. JetSetJim Silver badge

      Re: Makes no sense

      They can easily be disregarded with an IMSI black/white list

      1. Halfmad Silver badge

        Re: Makes no sense

        You need to build that list first, good luck brave soldier.

        1. JetSetJim Silver badge

          Re: Makes no sense

          Possibly automatable with visits to known first responder locations - hospital, police station, etc..Information might not need to be 100% perfect, just try and discard outliers who fit with a first responder pattern and measure from there.

          Equally could correlate with trace data from responder vehicles.

          Even that woouldn't catch everyone as I'm sure there are essential people who won't be detectable with this method - but their movements might well influence the spread of the virus anyway

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Makes no sense

      > They'd have to disregard those essential service workers (health care etc) who have been told to work like me.

      Or, being essential service workers, it is even more vital that they self-isolate properly otherwise they might be spreading to their colleagues, also essential service workers.

    3. Cederic Silver badge

      Re: Makes no sense

      If you arrived in this country less than two weeks ago and you're being told to work, call 111 and ask their advice.

      If you didn't arrive in this country less than two weeks ago then you're not in the group this article is discussing anyway, so get to work.

  5. zaax

    Worked in China

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      The reports from China were decidedly mixed and they were able to include nearly omnipresent facial recognition in the mix. Telephone location data is too inaccurate for this approach to be generally effective and that's before we get into the moral debate of the surveillance state.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Meh

      I've worked on site a few times with people who'd recently been to China last December. One guy came back with a bad cold. who knows, it could have been Corona, but I don't know of anyone who's tested positive for the virus. I'm fine, he's fine, they're all fine, it was weeks ago, and for all I know we all caught it, and got over it. Or not. Can't say, because symptoms are often so mild you don't know you have it, or think it's just the passing flu crap (as usual), which I've had off and on for several weeks like every year. (hot showers, staying warm, spicy food, mentholatum up my nose, and liquor all seem to help).

      And I might add, DON"T PANIC. No need or tracking people. That's just WRONG.

      1. myhandler

        You had a cold not flu.

        1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

          Man flu. Also not flu.

          1. Claverhouse Silver badge

            I don't really understand the condescension in demeaning other people's suffering with the contemptuous jibe 'Man Flu' --- kinda like the liberals dismissing lefties as Bernie Bros --- as if they are just whiny big babies.

    3. Wellyboot Silver badge

      They've put in place what is effectively home imprisonment, and are strictly enforcing it. There's not much easing off in sight either, they will be waiting for several weeks to pass without any new cases before allowing limited local travel again. Many of us on here would be risking 're-education' for expressing our opinions & dislike of direct state control over our lives under their system.

      We all have to act like grown ups and follow the medical advice properly, It's (just) possible to argue that much of the recent clearing of supermarket shelves has been because the majority of people don't have anything like two weeks worth of food & necessities they'll need during isolation due to modern lifestyles (24h shopping & next day delivery). This excuse is starting to wear thin.

      Now the UK government has decided to directly feed the most vulnerable 1.5M for at least the next three months, it follows that priority workers will be next (another 3M+) and then potentially a national rationing scheme to keep the basics available.

      The current requirements are needed, they must be removed when medically appropriate.

    4. Imhotep Silver badge

      Did it? We don't really know what is going on in China, but what we do know tends to indicate things are still pretty bad. Unless you take anything they say at face value, which isn't a particularly intelligent thing to do.

  6. theExecutive

    1984

    It was a bright cold day in May 2020, and the clocks were striking thirteen

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 1984

      Big Boris is Watching You.

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

        Re: 1984

        Big Boris is Watching You.

        And watching over his shoulder is Big Dom

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 1984

          >And watching over his shoulder is Big Dom

          Big Dom, Big Bad Dom...

          (for those of a certain age)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Big Bad Dom

            If you're old enough to remeber that, then you're old enough to be a candidate for his DNR Little List.

            1. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

              Re: Big Bad Dom

              If you're old enough to remeber that, then you're old enough to be a candidate for his DNR Little List.

              Opt-in by default, natch.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 1984

          >>>And watching over his shoulder is Big Dom

          Poor Carrie.

          1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: 1984

            Poor Carrie.

            Quotes from an imagined future Martin Bashir interview:

            "Do you think Mrs Parker-BowlesDominic Cummings was a factor in the breakdown of your marriage?"

            "Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded."

            Note: Joke icon!!!

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: 1984

              "Do you think Mrs Parker-BowlesDominic Cummings was a factor in the breakdown of your marriage?""

              Is that man-of-the-people, anti-establishment crusader Dominic Cummings, son-in-law of Sir Edward Humphry Tyrrell Wakefield, 2nd Baronet of Kendal ?

  7. Twanky Silver badge
    Go

    Sounds good to me.

    Leave the phone at home... social media distancing.

  8. DarkLordofSurrey

    Yeah I was REALLY pleased to see my neighbours daughter who was staying over for a few days with her two children from Spain last week.

    Why had she come over? To attend the "Mums in Business Association" awards in Leicester.

    I really wish I was making this up...

    1. Khaptain Silver badge

      The real problem with this is that Darwins Theory is more than likely to work against someone else rather than this idiotic woman... Sorry for the usage of the word Idiotic but it's difficult to come up with something less true.

      Whoever put her up is also just as silly. Some people honestly believe that they are above the laws of nature... until nature shows them otherwise.....

      1. AMBxx Silver badge

        My nephew flew back from South America a week ago. This weekend, he visited his girlfriend's grandmother. Total moron.

        I have two neighbours. Both have had their children (20 somethings) return home from either London or ski resort in France. 3 more morons.

        My friend's father died on Friday of Coronavirus, so feeling a bit touchy today.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > Why had she come over? To attend the "Mums in Business Association" awards in Leicester.

      A quick Google shows this event took place on 7-Mar. Your neighbour's daughter would have travelled one or two days before, say 6th. Spain's Government didn't impose travel restrictions until 14-Mar.

      So you're criticising this woman for what exactly? Not being a clairvoyant? Not being an epidemiologist? Or are you just dog-whistling a misogynist "Mum's in Business - ha ha that can't be a real thing"?

      1. DarkLordofSurrey

        Not at all, the advice had been given at that point to not travel and avoid social gatherings which everyone ignored as not applying to them, which is why we are in the position we are now.

        Yes I got the date slightly wrong, but I noticed it BECAUSE warnings had been made about unnecessary travel etc and Spain had been already been reported as a hotspot.

        The virus has been active since December last year with the travel into Europe reasonable well documented I really don't think you need to be either a clairvoyant or an epidemiologist to understand that non essential travel in that situation is probably not the best idea.

        1. Wellyboot Silver badge

          But you do have to be looking at (and understanding) real news not just twitfacepalm.

      2. David Nash

        People do need to think for themselves a bit, not just say "anything not explicitly prohibited is a good idea".

        The way the virus was escalating through Europe at that time meant it was a stupid idea to travel for such a non-essential reason.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Women!

        Hah.

    3. Mike 125

      Awww :) You're so funny :) :)

      It's hilarious when people expect others to act rationally, and then get irrationally angry when they don't.

    4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      At the couriers the other day. Woman on the phone complaining she'd been carded and couldn't come to collect. Ok, so why weren't you in when the driver tried to deliver. Oh, I had to pop out for a while and do some shopping.

      Some people don't seem to understand the concept of self-isolating and are possibly using it as an excuse rather than a precaution.

      1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

        Yeah but at some point you do actually have to go out to do some shopping. If everyone stays home and gets someone else to do their shopping, who's going to do it?

        Could just have been unfortunate timing. Inner-cynic does tend to agree with you, though.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Reading back over my post, I realise I missed the a crucial element. She specifically said she was self-isolating and gave that as the reason for not being able to collect. Hopefully that was easily inferred from what I wrote :-)

          Anyway, that aside, I see from the replies that there is a difference between self-isolation and minimising social contact. If you go out into into the world, you are not self-isolating. If you have a genuine reason to self-isolate, then yes, someone else should be doing your shopping for you. Self isolation is for those who are or strongly suspect they are infected and should especially not be going shopping. And yes, I am aware that for some people that is going to be very, very difficult.

        2. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
          Pirate

          Not Going Out

          I was already SI since March 1 & still currently SI as much as possible for a number of factors:

          Lost employment - SI saves money.

          Partner returned from overseas - So she's over halfway through SI since arrival & she was practising that while away.

          I met her at the airport - So I'm continuing my pre-existing regime & in tandem with hers, especially with the risk of higher exposure from the airport.

          As I am deemed to be the "lower risk" out of the two of us, I make the occasional brief trips to the shops for basic provisions (No panic buying), the last being 5 days ago, which on my return I have a full decontamination of shower & change of clothes (Her rules).

          Neither of us are showing any symptoms, I'm feeling a bit "off", but suspect that's more down to the strain of the employment loss than anything else.

      2. Jamie Jones Silver badge

        Some people don't seem to understand the concept of self-isolating and are possibly using it as an excuse rather than a precaution.

        I'd love to self-isolate. I'm all prepared, apart from one thing.. My car is dead are the moment, and I've been unable to make my normal monthly Tesco's delivery due to panic buyers.

        The local stores are restricting to no more than 2 or 3 items.. Of course, many people with cars are just putting their shopping in the car, and then heading right back into the store.

        How can I stop going out when I can't get more than about 3 days worth of food at a time? Hell, I often had to go out less often before the virus arrived.

        1. Claverhouse Silver badge

          Indeed. Now, I buy 16 cardboard litres of soya milk @59p each to last a month: since last week Aldi only allows 4 items at a time, and I was treated like a hoarder at Tesco which that morning apparently limited all items to only 3.

          One may say this is all good as it limits greedy hoarding ( though all these chains were willing to enable all those people a few weeks ago who were buying 200 rolls of toilet paper, and £/$1000 of frozen foods with a few extra freezers to store them in at a time by selling without batting an eye --- it takes two to tango... ).

          However if I now have to make 4 - 5 journeys to get the same amount, not only is is a fucking nuisance --- and recall I am not overbuying --- but with millions affected in the same way the petrol/diesel burnt will wipe out the putative gains to air quality being touted through less activity.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Now, I buy 16 cardboard litres of soya milk @59p each to last a month: since last week Aldi only allows 4 items at a time, and I was treated like a hoarder at Tesco

            Unpopular comment: Buying a months supply of things when there isn't enough things for people is the definition of hoarding.

            1. Claverhouse Silver badge

              I go through half a litre a day. Therefore I would need to buy more every 5 days. I don't live near shops.

      3. DiViDeD Silver badge

        Re: popping out to do some shopping

        I can beat that. On Hamilton Island last week, in a relatively crowded bakery, some arrogant loon was explaining loudly, by spitting into his phone, that he was "supposed to be self isolating, but I needed a coffee"

        It didn't end well for him once the owner and fellow patrons heard that.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Mums in Business Association"

      Is that like Mumsnet, but without the Penis Beaker?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The NHS was in crisis long before Corona.

    Successive governments have closed hospitals and underfunded the NHS.

    The NHS is a critical service. So why has our UK security service not addressed the over capacity, lack of contingency and lack of scalability. If I was to design a critical service and recommended it to run at 100%+ capacity with no contingency of spare capacity and where the continuity plan was to tell clients not to use the system. I would expect to be sacked

    The government is responsible for where we are today. We are a first world country, unfortunately we have a very poor government security department that has not address the long known risk associated with the NHS

    Maybe now we divert funds from the 100 billion pound railway line and treat the NHS availability risk.

    Also: Stop criticising citizens, they are making decision based on the facts presented. DO THE TESTS. GET THE DATA, ACTUALL DO SOMETHING !!!!!!!!

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Same with every industry ever run by a government anywhere in the world.

      It's an inherent fault of command economy politics.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Really? China is the textbook example of a command economy and when they finally realised what they faced they did stuff like built entire hospitals in a week to tackle it.

        I put it down to certain countries' governments' dogmatic predilection for cutting back so whatever it is is always running at 100% capacity... and then the black swan comes along.

        Proof of this is that every winter we have the 'winter flu crisis'... if we have one every year for years then it's not a crisis, it's the NHS' inability to cope because it's been cut back on purpose.

        1. Peter2 Silver badge

          . . . And then stripped other areas of China of their Medical staff to staff those new-built hospitals leaving those areas of China with understaffed medical systems. Of course, complaining about that would get you reeducated, so everybody in China is happy with it. :/

          The NHS is a victim of it's own success. It succeeds at keeping people alive on expensive medication who would otherwise be dead. The number of people it keeps alive in this manner will expand to absorb the amount of money made available. At the moment the max spend is 100k pa, if they released that limit because the amount of money available had risen then the "new" money would still run out.

          You could probably get practically every person in the UK to live to 110, if you spent enough on healthcare. The problem is that neither we or anybody else has unlimited amounts of money.

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            What would happen anywhere there is a hotspot? Would medical staff not get moved to it in other countries?

            1. Peter2 Silver badge

              Like in Italy?

              We ask what they need, realise it's identical to our own list of needs and then point out that we are about to need that equipment to treat our own population and then hand over a tiny amount of equipment in a token gesture along with a "best wishes" card.

              Where it's in the same country the usual way of dealing with it is to pick a couple of people from each hospital. It's not usual to take very large percentages of staff from particular areas and tell them that they have volunteered to go to the other side of the country.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            > . . And then stripped other areas of China of their Medical staff to staff those new-built hospitals leaving those areas of China with understaffed medical systems. Of course, complaining about that would get you reeducated, so everybody in China is happy with it. :/

            "stripped" is overstating it. China has 1.8 physicians per 1000 people. With 1.38bn people that's ~2.5m doctors. China had 81K corona virus cases in total. So even one doctor per case represents only 3% of doctors. The actual doctor patient ratio was much lower so it's safe to say that the rest of China's healthcare system was pretty much unaffected.

    2. Draco
      Joke

      Shirley things have gotten better since "Hospital for Hire" aired in 1973

      From The Goodies episode:

      Tim: Where have you been?

      Graeme: We've been to the hospital. Sorry, they kept us waiting.

      Tim: For three weeks?

      Bill: Yeah, and even then we were lucky, you know. Bloke ahead of us died.

      Tim: For a sprained ankle?

      Bill: [pointing cast on his leg] And, what is more, they put this on the wrong leg! Mmm. [points at Graeme] Should've been his.

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge

        Re: Shirley things have gotten better since "Hospital for Hire" aired in 1973

        Neatly pointing out that the UK command economy instituted in WW2 (extreme requirements) and happily continued by all parties for the next 35 years (right up to the point it near collapsed) didn't work because politicians get the urge for meddling.

        The American WW2 command economy stopped almost overnight at the end of the war.

        A command economy can only work during extreme events (like now) when there are requirements that normal market forces cannot hope to meet.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Shirley things have gotten better since "Hospital for Hire" aired in 1973

          "The American WW2 command economy stopped almost overnight at the end of the war."

          Except it didn't. It was pointed out even during the 1970s that the "command economy" was still operating in large sectors of the USA industry

          Just because civilians didn't see most of it didn't mean that it wasn't there and that the military tail wasn't increasingly wagging the dog

      2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
        Alert

        Re: Shirley things have gotten better since "Hospital for Hire" aired in 1973

        or 1981,,,

        Yes Minister - "The Compassionate Society"

        ...the hospital that has been open for 15 months with over 500 non clinical staff and no clinical staff or patients

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eyf97LAjjcY

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-5zEb1oS9A

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > The NHS is a critical service.

      Well spotted.

      >So why has our UK security service ...

      Because it's the Department of Health that is responsible

      > ...not addressed the over capacity, lack of contingency and lack of scalability.

      Scalabilty? It takes 6 years to qualify as a doctor, and then the same again to specialise fully. What sort of timescale did you have in mind for scalability?

      > If I was to design a critical service and recommended it to run at 100%+ capacity with no contingency of spare capacity and where the continuity plan was to tell clients not to use the system. I would expect to be sacked

      Why do you think the NHS normally runs at 100% capacity? It doesn't.

      So what are you suggesting? That we staff the NHS to a level that it could cope with a coronvirus event at any time? What should those staff do in the years when there is no virus? Pay them to go in and stand by empty beds, shift after shift, day after day, year after year? Take alternative jobs as supermarket check-out staff and shelf-stackers until the next virus hits? Please give us your wisdom because otherwise you just sound like an idiot.

      1. Blade918rr

        "Those Staff" should have the right to fair working environment, and not treated like fodder to push and push until they break!!!!!!

        6 years to train yes. That should be a factor in the design of the service.

      2. werdsmith Silver badge

        Apologism for the shoestring state of the NHS seems almost credible until you see the comparison of resources available to the NHS compared to other major European nations health services.

        1. LucreLout Silver badge

          Apologism for the shoestring state of the NHS seems almost credible until you see the comparison of resources available to the NHS compared to other major European nations health services.

          And yet almost a quarter of the people who work work in the NHS and we spend almost £2500 per man, woman, and child on the NHS every single year. For clarity, the average income tax payer contributes £4800 per annum, which once the NHS is fed and watered, isn't leaving a lot for education or other departments. Obviously there's more paid than just income tax, but then children and about a third of adults don't work, and we haven't even discounted the 1 in 4 that do work work for the NHS so aren't paying the taxes that run it.

          It isn't a people or resourcing problem, its an efficient spending issue - they spend too much on pensions, paperwork, and ballgazing admins & managers leaving too little for front-line staff and equipment. The NHS will need to be significantly restructured once the epidemic is over; there's simply no longer any way to avoid it.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Also consider that other services such as the Army, Fire brigade do other roles whilst waiting to be called out.

        It is simply a lack of imagination that creates a static role. Much like the ignorance being presented in your arguments

        Maybe NHS staff could be involved in developing stategy and vaccines as a day to day role, then re-purposed to cope with outbreaks. ITS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE

        1. Wellyboot Silver badge

          Would that be training nurses to become biochemists and loaning them out to pharma companies?

          Then we can have the interesting discussion about which job is needed more at the moment.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I am the AC that wrote: "So what are you suggesting?"

          I'm pleased to see there is a genuine response and I'm surprised that you have two downvotes at the time of writing - neither are from me.

          It seems quite reasonable to suggest that a volunteer corps could be established who could be trained in infection prevention and operation of a ventilator for just this kind of emergency. They don't have to be able to deal with severe cases or even how to insert the ventilator - just monitor that it's working correctly and monitor the patient's vitals. Enough to take the load off the regular doctors and nurses so they can concentrate on the severe cases.

          Yes, integrating them into the NHS at other times - for training and practice working alongside each other - might be a challenge but not much different to the concept of special constables working alongside the police or the army having reservists.

          1. Cederic Silver badge

            Comically my local hospital is not accepting new volunteers at the moment.

            Shame, I lack medical training but could probably be trained to operate a ventilator. Oh well.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              "Comically my local hospital is not accepting new volunteers at the moment."

              Maybe it's simply that currently they don't need any? Maybe they already have a small number who are being trained to lead teams of more volunteers as needed. The last thing a place like that needs is hoards of untrained volunteers.

              1. Cederic Silver badge

                I suspect there's also a Brooks Law element to it. I'm not upset about it, I was just checking if they needed volunteers. They don't. Good.

                1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                  Ah, ok then. Your probably shouldn't have started that sentence off with "comically". It gave the wrong impression.

              2. DiViDeD Silver badge

                Re: hoards of untrained volunteers

                Hoards? What, like in cupboards, or shipping containers in the car park?

            2. Warm Braw Silver badge

              I lack medical training but could probably be trained to operate a ventilator

              I own a ballpoint pen and could probably perform the necessary trachy for intubation. The NHS has other priorities right now that helping me prove I'm right. Or, worse, wrong.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            I can based on attracting more down votes than up is not a popular, but I cant fathom why.

            Sure It is too late for the current situation, but many countries have Military reserves, Australia has the volunteer bush fire brigade system and the volunteer SES (State Emergency Services), whats exactly is preventing the formation of a Medical Reserves?

            With proper ongoing training of the reservist and the professional medical staff (who need supervisor training to be able to handle the reservists) society would have a large medical workforce available in emergencies such as this, if nothing else it might give shifts of the professional staff a opportunity to sleep instead of making mistakes because they've been working for 48 hours straight.

            Additional benefit to society as a whole is you'd see a sharp rise in the number of qualified first-aiders

            1. 2+2=5 Silver badge

              > whats exactly is preventing the formation of a Medical Reserves?

              Judging by the panic buying of toilet rolls... stupidity. The population are too stupid to successfully pass the training! ;-)

        3. AMBxx Silver badge

          They do strategy - there are doctors working for Public Health England. Much of their work is responding to GPs unsure of what to do with someone returning from overseas with a strange disease. They also handle the planning for stuff like we're going through at the moment.

          The old joke about Rocket Science is correct - the science is easy, it's the engineering that's difficult.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Oh, and the Department of Health is not responsible for security of UK citizens, I believe risk of death is a security issue

      5. LucreLout Silver badge

        It takes 6 years to qualify as a doctor, and then the same again to specialise fully. What sort of timescale did you have in mind for scalability?

        That assumes nobody qualified ever leaves.

        Military personnel can be called back to active duty at any time if they have ever served. There's probably over 100k doctors and nurses that have either retired in the last 5 years or left the profession to do something else that could be called back in this exceptional time. Yes, they'd need a refresher course, but we've had months of notice here, so while it would have been unpopular with the former staff, it should have been done.

        The calc following is a bit vague because its stats not data, but given the NHS has about 6 million staff, if we assume even half of them have ever qualified as a nurse or doc, then we have 3 million active medical staff. 3 million divided by a 45 year career is 66-67k retirees per year if everyone stayed the course. That gives us a pool of roughly 350k people that could be called back into service minus those that left the NHS to work in the private sector who just got annexed. Again, assume half, so we should have 150-175k medical staff we could summon for retraining and redeployment.

    4. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      solution: PRIVATIZE MEDICINE!!!

      (no I'm not trolling, I'm serious)

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge

        can we have a quick vote.

        anyone preferring western European / Japanese / Chinese medical cover vote up

        anyone preferring the US system vote down

        1. el_oscuro

          The US system isn't health care. It is basically institutionalized price gouging and outright theft between the drug companies, insurance, pharmacy benefit managers, and providers, all over billing each other, with the poor sod who actually needs healthcare getting stuck with the bill.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          How about only votes from those who have dealt with all those health system..

          I and my immediate family have many decades of direct experience with the UK, US, French and Italian medical systems. The French system is the best of those in Europe. Although the Swiss and Dutch systems are better from everything I have heard from other who have had direct dealing.

          As for US system versus UK system its no contest. I have dealt with the US system in various permutations of insurance and self pay and the US system wins hands down. Every time. Not just ER v A&E but in general quality of care at all levels. Sure there are horror stories. Almost always from people who were too lazy, negligent or incompetent to do the most basic due diligence. No different from stories of people who end up with $3000 car repair bills for a simple $50 repair.

          The big difference between the US system and the UK system is that every medical system horror story I have heard personally in the US is about a very big bill. Which is always settled in the end for a much much smaller amount. Just like the insurance companies do. Every horror story I have heard over the decades about the NHS are always about someone ending up dead or very seriously maimed.

          Outrageous bills can be fixed. Being dead or seriously maimed cannot.

          I think I will take expensive and great over cheap and nasty with sub par medical outcomes any day. And for this substandard medical system you pay hundreds of pounds a month in tax. Where do you think that 140 billion quid to pay for in comes from? Out of your pay packet. Either income tax or consumption tax. Go look at the systems of the Netherlands or Switzerland etc for how you could get a far better system for about the same amount of money you pay in tax to support the current shambling monstrosity with zero surge capacity. Those other systems are not perfect, far from it, but far better value for money than the NHS when it comes to health care quality.

          Because socialized system never have any real surge capacity. You need a medical insurance supported system for that. As you will all discover the hard way in the UK in the next few weeks.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: How about only votes from those who have dealt with all those health system..

            > The big difference between the US system and the UK system is that every medical system horror story I have heard personally in the US is about a very big bill. Which is always settled in the end for a much much smaller amount. Just like the insurance companies do. Every horror story I have heard over the decades about the NHS are always about someone ending up dead or very seriously maimed.

            Given that the NHS is free at the point of treatment, I'm not surprised you've never heard of anyone complaining about the bill.

            There's plenty of medical scandal in the US: Boston Children's Hospital in the Justine Pelletier case, for example.

          2. Tom 38 Silver badge

            Re: How about only votes from those who have dealt with all those health system..

            Because socialized system never have any real surge capacity. You need a medical insurance supported system for that. As you will all discover the hard way in the UK in the next few weeks.

            !remindme 1 year

            I want to be reminded how wrong a person can be.In the amazing medical insurance supported system right now, nurses are sewing together their own PPE - sounds like perfection.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > solution: PRIVATIZE MEDICINE!!!

        Hi Bob,

        Which US health insurers or operators of hospitals have offered to step up and build a new hospital in 10 days?

      3. Claverhouse Silver badge

        solution: PRIVATIZE MEDICINE!!!

        Not really a solution for America.

        '

        The system that invented 'Patient Dumping' to free unwanted paraplegics and dementia sufferers back on the sidewalk with tubes still attached... A practice proudly continued since the 1870s...

        .

        A paraplegic man wearing a soiled hospital gown and a broken colostomy bag was found crawling in a gutter in skid row in Los Angeles on Thursday after allegedly being dumped in the street by a Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center van, police said.

        The incident, witnessed by more than two dozen people, was described by police as a particularly outrageous case of “homeless dumping” that has plagued the downtown area.

        https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2007-feb-09-me-dumping9-story.html

      4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Here in the UK, private medicine wasn't doing much in the way of emergency work, so they've now agreed to rent out pretty much the entire private medical system to the NHS at cost price for the duration and postpone all elective work.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          "private medicine wasn't doing much in the way of emergency work"

          In the UK, private medicine doesn't do emergency work - and when they fuck things up, they dump their cockups on the NHS as emergency cases

      5. Dr_N Silver badge

        bambastic bob> solution: PRIVATIZE MEDICINE!!!

        Well, we've now got the ideal situation to test whether decentralised, business-driven healthcare is capable of dealing with a major pandemic.

        I'm thinking it's going to prove woefully inadequate.

        But I honestly wish everyone good luck over there. See you all on the flipside of this. Hopefully.

      6. Peter2 Silver badge

        The good news is that if people want private medicine in the UK then they have the choice to buy healthcare through companies that specialise in that. (eg, BUPA etc who offer nicer waiting rooms with potted plants and short waiting lists)

        Most people are quite happy with turning up to the NHS and having people treated in declining order of life threatening injuries being treated first, then serious injuries, then minor injuries, then hypochondriacs.

        Most people are not happy with the prospect of this order being changed to "who here has the most money".

        1. DiViDeD Silver badge

          @ Peter2

          One of the issues that led to the development of the NHS was the woefully inadequate private coverage of emergency treatment. A&E is uncomfortable hard work and, given the society of the time, those most likely to have life threatening diseases or injuries would be those least likely to be able to pay.

          Far better to collect a regular income treating Lady Fortescue-Smithers' imaginary nervous ailments in the comfort of an aristocratic drawing room, doncha know.

  10. Chris G Silver badge

    Huge opportunity

    For nannyism to dominate the world.

    As usual, normal people can't be trusted to have any common sense so they will see to our needs.

    Forever!

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Huge opportunity

      Germany is a case in point. They left it to the citizens. They said they didn't want to impose bans or stop people going out, so they just said people shouldn't meet up in large groups, no parties, no group picnics in the park, no playing basketball/football etc. in public places, only be in small groups (up to 4 people) and keep a distance.

      A lot of people complied. But a lot of people, especially young people, decided that this didn't apply to them, because they aren't in a high risk group. So we had parents with children who had been sent home from Kindergarten, school etc. in the park, all playing together in the "closed" play areas. Groups of teens partying in the park in large groups, playing basketball etc. walking through the town in large groups.

      Because of that, Germany announced a contact ban yesterday evening, you can only meet up with a maximum of 1 person who does not belong to your household, all parties and social gatherings are 100% banned. (The exception is your place of work.)

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Huge opportunity

        Politicians are responding to the signals from the public and it seems that, at the moment, it's more important to look strong and decisive than anything else. Except, of course, they did nothing over carnival so the virus is already essentially endemic in large parts of the country. My neighbour has been in a coma with an obscure respiratory problem since the start of the year (corvid-19 is considered to possibly have been in Germany by then).

        With the current good weather people should probably be spending as much time outside as possible, just as long as they keep a reasonable distance from each other. Sunshine boosts vitamin D levels and the virus is susceptible to UV. Personally, I think a lot of goverments are hoping that a warm dry spring will help reduce the spread, just as it does for colds and the flu, but they'll take the credit.

        We also need a table for the increase in domestic violence and accidents that will, unfortunately, accompany the stay at home period.

    2. Def Silver badge

      Re: Huge opportunity

      ...normal people can't be trusted to have any common sense...

      Sadly, I haven't seen any news recently that contradicts that. Have you?

      1. big_D Silver badge

        Re: Huge opportunity

        Exactly. People are our own worst enemy. Whilst many will take a hint and be careful, a large number will ignore "advice", until it is backed up by laws and fines - and even then, they will probably test the limits of official patience, until they get arrested.

        1. Fred Dibnah Silver badge

          Re: Huge opportunity

          After years of hearing the Tories saying rubbish like "people in this country have had enough of experts", is it any wonder that some of them are doing exactly that?

          1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

            Re: Huge opportunity

            the Tories saying rubbish like "people in this country have had enough of experts",

            Why single out the Tories? It's sadly true that many people prefer to believe the nonsense they read on social media over the advice of qualified experts. That is, at least in part, because the "experts" often overreact for fear of being blamed for not having done enough. Then when the predicted calamity doesn't happen, people say "huh, experts, what do they know?".

            That's not a recent phenomenon, though. People preferred to believe priests instead of scientists, but they mostly learned better, eventually. No doubt the same thing will happen to the armchair 'experts' on twitter as well. Eventually.

            1. Fred Dibnah Silver badge

              Re: Huge opportunity

              I singled out the Tories because, well, it was a Tory (Gove) who said what I quoted. I can't think of another UK government in living memory who said anything along the same lines, but I'd be happy to be corrected.

              I'm not old enough to recall what the priests said.

            2. Alan Brown Silver badge

              Re: Huge opportunity

              "People preferred to believe priests instead of scientists, but they mostly learned better, eventually"

              Or they died

              Usually they died

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Huge opportunity

          until they get arrested.

          But what do you do with them then? Prisons can't take them, so short of introducing martial law and concentration camps you're still going to have a problem.

          This is a big issue, people will isolate and distance themselves for a time, but eventually (and especially when things start to get better) they'll go back to more usual behaviour. If there's still a core of contagion then it will start all over again.

          If you start the isolation & repression too soon, it will break down too soon, but starting it too late has other obvious issues.

        3. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

          Re: Huge opportunity

          "A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it. "

    3. DiViDeD Silver badge

      Re: Huge opportunity

      normal people can't be trusted to have any common sense

      Would this be the common sense of all those normal people booting old ladies out of the way at Woolies so they can snag another couple of 24 packs of toilet rolls?

      Or the crowds of milennials partying on Bondi Beach before going home to their parents and grandparents?

      Asking for a friend

  11. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    Holmes

    Yes, I'm being monitored

    But the phone I left on the kitchen table failed to observe me slipping out to buy a burner...

    1. Mike 125

      Re: Yes, I'm being monitored

      >But the phone I left on the kitchen table failed to observe me slipping out to buy a burner...

      Good luck with that. Shelves round here emptied of burners last week. That should've been the warning..

    2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: Yes, I'm being monitored

      Had an incident at a supermarket...

      I had just bought few things - used the self-checkout and was going to take the shortcut through the scan-as-you-shop section to the exit, when I was accosted by the shop worker there - she put her hands to her side, blocking my way, saying you can't go this way - I asked why not - then she went on about "the magic strip" - the alarm will go off. Then she mentioned security - I said, I'll go find security myself and backed off to the shop and went to the exit - the security guard I noticed on the way in was not there - I just carried on regardless. The alarm did go off. Normally, the alarm going off would make me stop automatically - well, not this time. Unless they have started to put tags on bread, lettuce and ready meals, can't see what could have set off the alarm.

      But it did get me thinking - are they detecting things like NFC cards entering the checkout areas and then cross checking at the main exit to check if you exited using the allocated exit for the checkout?

      Time for tin-foil and some experimentation, including leaving the phone in the car before entering the store.

      I did also think that very easily I could have got my collar felt by the fuzz - good thing I did not barge past her/make contact. All for a few things amounting to less than £4

      1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: I just carried on regardless

        They're not too fussed. However, as a potential trouble-maker, the next time you enter the store carrying the same phone your movements around the store may be tracked more closely.

  12. disgruntled yank Silver badge

    Might work to track the young

    If I go for a walk around my neighborhood, I might or might not take my phone along. My wife is as likely as not to leave hers charging when she is out and about. No, we are not millenials, we are (OK,) boomers.

  13. HammerOn1024

    Pesky thing...

    that First Amendment to the US Constitution: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pesky thing...

      Presumably Donald 'Il Duce' Duck can award himself Emergency Powers and then ignore it ?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pesky thing...

      Do you know what "amendment" means?

    3. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Pesky thing...

      I suspect the argument would be that spreading a fatal disease is not a peaceable action.

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge

        Re: Pesky thing...

        Indeed, It could even be classed as a 'clear and present danger' - unroll the black bags..

    4. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Pesky thing...

      >"or the right of the people peaceably to assemble"

      Says nothing about the size of an "assembly", nor anything about people not having to be at least 2 metres away from others in the 'assembly'. Naturally, the instance someone demonstrates with an official about their "peaceful assembly", they are no longer "peacefully assembling"...

  14. TeeCee Gold badge
    Facepalm

    Opinions are like arseholes...

    ....everyone's got one.

    It must be horrible to be in government right now. You try to come up with a policy that caters to both those who think that we should have jackbooted stormtroopers on every street corner to cart anyone caught out without the correct permit off to a concentration camp and those who think closing the pub is a massive overreaction.

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: Opinions are like arseholes...

      and the goalposts aren't so much moving as teleporting.

    2. Steve K Silver badge

      Re: Opinions are like arseholes...

      Or a total f@ckwit like Bullen:

      https://www.huntspost.co.uk/news/back-to-work-forget-covid-19-says-former-cambs-ukip-leader-paul-bullen-1-6574093

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Opinions are like arseholes...

      "....everyone's got one."

      Not strictly correct, as anyone with a stoma can tell you, though it limits the governments options when it's BOHICA time...

  15. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Book eye test

    I need to get my eyes tested - "Simon Sharwood, APAC Editor" - looks like you've been back a couple of weeks now.

    I guess Big Brother knew that aleady.

    Welcome back.. to the nest?

    1. The Pi Man

      Re: Book eye test

      I noticed the same thing earlier today!

  16. NonyaDB

    [laughs in United States Constitution]

  17. mark l 2 Silver badge

    How often are you supposed to reply to this SMS messages to prove your still with your phone? If they only did it during 'waking hours' what is to stop someone going out at night. And if they do send them every day for 24 hours every day for 2 weeks, your not going to be able to sleep, take a shower, listen to music for the fear you might miss replying to an text and get big brother coming bursting down the door.

  18. JcRabbit

    Tracking

    So, any predictions on how it will take to make cell phones compulsory so everyone's location can be tracked (in the name of security, of course)? And don't say that will never happen, I remember that just a few years ago all the current tracking in social media and Windows 10 would have resulted in a huge social uproar. Now nobody cares.

  19. Persona Silver badge

    Should be easy enough.

    All you need to do is identify everyone in the country. Verify if they have a smart phone they can use. Get the number. Get their registered address where they should be. Work out it they are an essential worker who can travel. Agree which food shop and pharmacy they can use. Confirm that they can actually receive text messages where they live (that rules me out). Set up the system in 1% of the time a major government system normally takes and scale it to be able to receive the huge volumes of data without it going titsup on day one. Apologise to the people who were being messaged through the night and weren't responding to the system because they were asleep. Send the builders out to repair the doors the quarantine police kicked in by error where the people didn't respond because they were sleeping. Apologise to the people who were infected by the builders repairing their front doors and take them (and the builders) to hospital. Apologise to the people in hospital being harassed for not being at their registered address. Launch a ten year public enquiry into why this scheme was even imagined let alone implemented.

  20. Matthew Taylor

    To save us from the virus

    Such half-baked measures will never be effective enough! No - I propose the whole citizenry be fitted with tracking ankle bracelets immediately! Also electric shock collars ("Enhanced feedback mechanisms") Purely to enforce social distancing. You'll all be thankful when you don't die of the virus!

  21. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Not a police state

    So, the reason they don't have that here is because Taiwan and Singapore are police states, and these other countries aren't. That said, sending texts to be responded to is a clever way of getting location info without some all-encompassing phone location system (that they probably don't have...)

    I do have to wonder though... 1) given the flu symptoms, well, if I have a flu I don't feel like going outside. I wonder how much of a problem they even had with Covid-19 peoples wanting to go wandering around outside anyway? 2) I wonder how well being expected to respond to SMS messages works? Again, if I have a flu, I'm napping and such, I would not be responding to text messages.

    I was going to joke about the "OH MY GOD!!! Look how many people are congregating at the phone repair shop!!!" when I thought they were just trying to track all these phones and decide if "too many" are in one spot. But that's not what's happening.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not a police state

      The people with flu symptoms are self-correcting, largely. It's the people who have it but are only showing slight (if any) symptoms that are the problem.

  22. Jonjonz

    Total Permanant Ban on Wet Markets

    This crap keeps repeating and it all starts in the same place: Wet Markets.

    The suits at WHO need to grow a pair and insist that Web Markets are shut down and never allowed to re-appear.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How about no?

    I'm sure this will be a temporary thing that will totally disappear after the pandemic is over.

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