22nd December

I had hoped by December we’d be getting through this. Far from it.

As I write, the UK is cut off from the rest of the world, because a new strain of covid-19 is on the loose. Rates in southern UK have rocketed, and after all the hoo hah about Saving Christmas, the govt has put the whole of the South East under a stay-at-home order, Christmas gatherings have been cut to two families on Xmas day only, and all other movement and retail is closed down. Its illegal to travel to Scotland or Wales. There’s a new Tier 4 to capture these changes.

To make things worse, most of Europe and indeed the world have closed their borders to people and accompaniedd goods coming from Britain. As of 6pm tonight there were 3000 lorries queued on the roads of Kent trying to cross the channel, the channel tunnel is closed, ports are closed and nothing is coming into the UK by road or rail. Unaccompanied freight can still get in, but lorry drivers are understandably reluctant to either enter or leave the UK in case they can’t get home. Food supplies are ok for now, but supermarkets are warning that fresh fruit and veg will run out in a matter of days.

[update 20:30 – France has reopened borders but only to EU nationals or residents, and all hauliers will have to have an antigen test within 3 days of travelling. Shapps is crowing about it, i think the bloody idiot doesn’t realise how long an antigen test takes]

And rates are rising. Since saturday there have been 160,000 new cases in the UK, compared to 120,000 in the previous 5 days, and 90,000 in the five before that. Deaths are not rising yet, but will do so in two weeks, and today’s statistic was 690 deaths which is twice the average over the last week.

We are ok here so far, we’re still Tier2, but we expect to be put in Tier3 soon. We’re virtually surrounded by higher tiers, Bucks, Berks in tier4, Stratford in tier3. We won’t be long.

And in other dickish news, last week several LEAs wanted to close schools a few days early. The govt threatened them with legal action and forced them to stay open. Then literally two days later they informed schools, at 5pm on the last day of school, that they would be staggering reopening after Xmas, and heads had to organize volunteers to test pupils. Absolutely impossible, and it means many teachers will now be working all christmas to try to arrange a mix of online for most classes but face to face teaching for exam years. And somehow test every pupil that comes in.

And we’ve not even got through Christmas yet. I really fear for the new year.

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