Fringe Box



The Dragon Says: Guildford’s Decency Reigns But We Must Be Told the Truth About This Virus Fight

Published on: 18 Mar, 2020
Updated on: 21 Mar, 2020

In Guildford, the number of volunteers to help in the COVID-19 crisis outstrips those who have asked for help. That is no surprise. Most people are decent. They have concern for others. They want to support their neighbours and their communities. 

Hopefully, the more extreme, selfish panic-buying will be a passing phenomenon, dealt with by the necessary and welcome measures to manage distribution to customers more fairly.

The pandemic is, of course, global and most measures are taken at a national level. Our local governments are not in the driving seat their role is to support, implement and communicate national policy.

But individually, we can all play our part. While we may well be critical of the time taken by the government to make decisions, the aim of suppressing or delaying the infection rate so NHS resources are not overwhelmed must be correct.

Those in charge must lead, must make decisions with more urgency to allow more certainty and therefore less fear. But they must also avoid patronising us. We are adults and must be told the truth.

At present, we cannot tell you how many confirmed cases there are in Guildford borough because the government is issuing figures only for the upper-tier authority areas, in our case Surrey, with 30 cases as of today in a population of nearly 1,200,000. A week ago, that figure was six cases.

This anomalous decision means residents in boroughs such as Wokingham (a unitary authority), Croydon or Richmond (London Boroughs) can know their local infection rate but we cannot.


But we know these are only confirmed cases. We don’t know how many have had or are suffering only a mild form of the virus and we don’t know how wide will be the spread nor how long the restrictions will need to be in place.

Nor does the government or the NHS and that is not their fault.

We have to trust those in charge to make the right public decisions on procuring and using testing equipment, because the more we know, the better-equipped we are to deal with COVID-19.

For Surrey County Council advice on coronavirus click here, and for Guildford Borough Council Advice click here.

See also: Communities Offer Help To Others As Coronavirus Crisis Deepens

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