As you’ll already know Bozzie was discharged from hospital late yesterday morning. I knew something was happening when the Little Otter and the Mutt turned up, so I hung around downstairs so as not to miss anything. When Bozzie came in I tried to play it cool, as the Mutt was going mad and I like to appear the sensible one. Some people call cats aloof, I like to think that we just don’t show our emotions like dopey dogs. Anyway, Bozzie gave me a stroke and asked me if I’d missed him, I just purred. He still looks very pale and going up the stairs got him short of breath. He didn’t stay long; he was soon out again with the Little Otter and the Mutt and getting into the car. As he went by he said “see you in a few weeks old man”, I think he was talking to me but it could have been the nice policeman on the front door who tickles my tummy. I understand they were all off to Chequers to continue their recoveries. Bozzie was tested for the virus before he left hospital and was negative. The big news this morning is the agreement between Russia and Saudi Arabia to cut oil production by 10%. I’m told this is good news because there’s been a glut of oil caused by the virus inspired global slowdown. Countries not in OPEC, such as the USA and Canada are likely to join in, with the aim of stabilising the crude oil price on the international market, petrol is expected to remain at its new lower price.
People have been moaning about the numbers of virus tests being done in England and Matt Handoncock has promised to increase the number from 8,000 to 100,000 a day by the end of the month. Yesterday the number was up to 19,000 and will keep rising as more and more labs come on line. Testing has been opened up to NHS workers, their families, care workers and care home residents. I heard that in Ireland they are testing around 6,000 a day, it’s more than they intended but they have a much smaller population than us. A couple of weeks ago they were testing 8,000 a day with a backlog of 35,000 tests they couldn’t process! Yesterday the backlog had been reduced to about 11,000, but why do so many when you don’t have capacity to process? Sounds Irish to me.
Labour party internal politics are beyond me. A report drawn up in the last few days of the Tramps leadership has had large chunks leaked on social media. It says that the anti-Steptoe wing of the party actively conspired to stop him winning the 2017 election. The report says people came into the office but did no work and when he started gaining in the polls they actually started working against him. It also claims this element were behind all the antisemitism reports in an attempt to “inhibit the functioning of the party”. The Campaign Against Antisemitism says this is a last-minute attempt to deflect criticism of Steptoe. The Labour party is now going to have an enquiry into the leaking of an enquiry. I hope someone leaks the leak report so we can have an enquiry into that. For the third day running virus related deaths have fallen with 717 reported. I’m having difficulty getting my poor little cat brain around this, but the hospital deaths for yesterday were actually only 118. 537 deaths happened between 1st April and 12th April and the remaining 12 go back as far as 26th March. When we see the graph at the press conference tonight will it have been adjusted to reflect these dates or will all those 717 deaths be dumped on yesterday? If the number has fallen to only 118 that would be remarkable.
The MSM thought they had caught the Gove breaking isolation rules when they spotted him out jogging. He’d been self-isolating because his daughter had shown virus symptoms. It turns out that the Chief Medical Officer had arranged special permission for the Gove’s daughter to be tested, she proved negative so the Gove could get back to important government work. He’d taken advantage of the weather to have a jog before going to the office. My Ghost Writer, WorthingGooner, will be delighted to read that Tottenham FC has been shamed into retracting its decision to furlough 550 non playing staff. With their near neighbours, Arsenal, that they’d be paying all non playing staff in full, Tottenham have backed down on their decision.
A good morning today, it looks like the masked man is taking an extended holiday as it was the Dreamies girl again this morning. While I was eating she kept talking to me, she told me to come and see her in the office later. I hope she has some cat treats for me. Whoopee! Dom’s back. I was just wandering across the hall when the front door opened and he walked in. He stopped to speak to the policeman who tickles my tummy and I welcomed him by rubbing around his legs. He bent down and stroked my head saying “at least someone’s pleased to see me, I bet this lot won’t be”. There might be a bit of fun later.
The collective MSM aren’t very happy with the God King President. He called them out at this morning’s daily press conference for being “fake news”. He pointed out that when he stopped people coming into the USA from China and Europe he’d been called racist now they were complaining he’d acted too slowly. CNN said he raged at them; I didn’t see that but the BBC man there, a long term GKP hater, posted a very anti Trump report. Fatty Eamon Holmes sparked 419 complaints to Ofcom yesterday when he appeared to support the internet theory that 5G transmitters caused Covid-19. When a reporter on This Morning pooh-poohed his theory he ranted about the MSM dismissing things and doing the Government’s bidding without a thorough investigation. Ofcom has launched an investigation.
The Independent is saying the Government hasn’t taken part in the EU initiative to buy PPE. It seems the EU had 2 meetings to set up the scheme back in March and sent an invitation to us. Unfortunately, the invitation was sent to an e-mail address that was no longer in use. The result of the first two meetings was that the EU put out a tender document for which there were no bids. When we found out about the scheme we took part in a third meeting, but by then we’d already placed huge orders for PPE and deliveries had already started. After another meeting a new tender document was issued and orders placed. We didn’t bother to join as we are already getting daily deliveries from China and the first EU orders aren’t likely to start arriving with them for two more weeks.
There’s going to be another NHS drive-in virus testing station opening shortly, this time in one of the car parks at Stansted Airport. Tests will be available to NHS Staff and their families who have pre-booked appointments. Stansted likes to call itself London’s 3rd airport but it’s nearer to Cambridge and will be able to cater for much of East Anglia. I wonder if the giant Wetherspoon’s at the airport is allowed to open when pubs in general are shut. Running or walking round your garden seems to be the latest way to raise money for charity. Last week I heard about a man who had intended to run the London marathon for charity but as it was cancelled be chose to do the distance running round his small garden. He had to stop several times because he got giddy but he made it and, consequently, his chosen charity didn’t miss out. Then I heard about a beaver scout running in his garden and raising £40,000 for charity. Now I read about a 99 year old army veteran walking 100 laps of his garden, aided by a walking fame, before he reaches his 100th birthday on Thursday. His fundraising started with his family sponsoring him for £1000 to donate to NHS charities, however, at the time of my dictating this his Just Giving page had got to over £2,000,000 and was still rising.
A couple of unintended consequences of the virus lockdown have come to light. Because some recycling centres are shut, some councils are struggling under piles of recycling they have collected on their household rounds. Much of it is paper and cardboard and they are finding it difficult to dispose of. Likewise many homeowners have been making use of the lockdown to indulge in long postponed DIY projects and have generate loads of builders waste. Consequently there’s been a huge increase in fly tipping. Someone is always out to make a fast buck and tonight I hear that the Belgium Government has been scammed. It placed a €5 million order for 5,000,000 face masks with a Turkish company with a latest delivery date of last Sunday. I’m sure you’ll have already guessed that nothing has turned up and the supplier has disappeared with the deposit. In another attempted scam last week two men were arrested for attempted fraud after they told Dutch hospitals they could supply a large number of masks but wanted the money up front. In the USA, a number of Californian hospitals got together to place an order for 39 million face masks at a premium price. A nurses union accused other hospitals of being more interested in saving money than in their health when they refused to join in. The FBI started looking into the deal, found it was a scam and arrested several people.
Even the Germans have been caught out. German health authorities wanted to place a €15 million order for 10 million masks with a Spanish company they’d dealt with previously. The Spanish company’s website had been cloned and the scammers told the Germans to use a Dutch Site via an Irish intermediary. The Genuine Dutch Company’s website had been cloned and the Germans were conned into placing a €7.7 million order for 11 million masks. 1 Irishman has been arrested.
It’s sunny and warm in London this morning, that cold wind from Monday has gone. I’ll be able to get out snoozing on my favourite windowsill later, once I’ve had breakfast and been on rodent patrol around the estate. Today is the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Belsen Concentration Camp. It was originally built in 1940 as a PoW camp to house Belgian, French and latterly Russian PoW’s. It was handed over to the SS in 1943, ostensibly to become an “exchange camp” for Jews with the intention of swapping them for German PoWs. Belsen was not an extermination camp so was not equipped with gas chambers. When it was finally liberated by the British 11th Armoured Division it’s believed that the 20,000 Russians and as many as 50,000 Jews had died from disease, starvation and over work. The liberators found 60,000 starving inmates and 13,000 unburied corpses. Typhus was widespread in the camp, all the inmates were deloused, washed and given clean clothes, the old clothes and wooden huts were then burned. Many of the inmates were dehydrated, starving and in extremely poor condition and despite all efforts to save them another 14,000 are believed to have died post liberation.
The Government today gave the go ahead to start construction of phase 1 of the HS2 project by issuing a “Notice to Proceed”. It had already agreed that HS2 should go ahead and “enabling” work has been going on (route clearing etc.). Now all the many construction companies involved can actually start building tunnels, cuttings, bridges and track laying so long as they maintain social distancing. It was lovely to see that a 106 year old lady has been released from hospital after recovering from the virus. She holds the record for being the oldest person in the UK to have survived the infection. Connie Titchen was treated in Birmingham city hospital for three weeks. I also see that the 99 year old who I reported was raising money by doing laps of his garden is now looking at raising over £8,000,000 for NHS charities.
This morning it was announced that all care workers and all symptomatic care home residents are to get tests. This is in answer to the latest anti-government campaign the MSM has mounted, they seem to get their teeth into something different every day. We’ve had them moaning about shortages of ICU beds, PPE, and ventilators though none have run out. What’s going to be the next thing they moan about? I think it’s going to be when is the lockdown going to end? Handoncock threw a curve ball during the nightly press conference by announcing that he wants to organise visits for when patients in hospitals are dying. There’s been a trade deal video meeting between us and the EU today. I hear a little progress was made. 3 more meetings have been pencilled in however, after the video meeting the EU announced that trade talks are no longer their priority. Typical, they’re still acting as if we’re beholden to them. When will they learn that we are out of their empire (and it looks like Italy may be next) and if they don’t want to negotiate it’s WTO?
It’s strange how different police forces around the country have taken such different approaches to enforcing the lockdown rules. Out of over 3,000 fines issued Lancashire police have issued the most at 380. Thames Valley comes next with 219 then Surrey with 208. Some have hardly issued any, Humberside with 2, Staffordshire 4 and Warwickshire with 5 are the lowest. Does this mean Humberside police are slacking or are they just being sensible? Not every company is struggling, some people have found their business booming in these strange times. A family firm in Dorset is one; they’ve been swamped with orders for their giant jigsaw puzzles. This time of is usually very quiet, with them selling perhaps 4 dozen puzzles a week via the internet. This week they’re selling 300 to 400 a day. The owner said that in the last 3 weeks they’ve sold more puzzles than they did during Christmas last year.
Morning folks, sort of sunny this morning, it’s what I’ve heard called “watery”, but at least it’s warm. The masked man is still missing, is he off for a week, is Dreamies permanent, or will it change when Bozzie and the Little Otter return? I see that the old man walking laps of his garden completed 100 laps this morning, raising £13,000,000 for charity. He says he’ll carry on walking as long as people keep giving. The EU is still messing around, it seems to think that we are going to ask for an extension of the transition period of up to two years. They just want our money. What they fail to understand is that to extend the period would require a change of UK law and I can’t see Parliament agreeing to that. David Frost has confirmed to Barnier that the Government has no intention of extending, In our last full year of membership we paid in about £20 billion and got a rebate of £4.5 billion with another £4.5 billion in grants. Since leaving we’ve been paying in at the same rate but not getting the rebate or some of the grants. Another year or two would cost us even more as we’re sure to lose the grants and we could get caught up any future EU bail outs.
I hear this morning that England now has the capacity to do 35,000 Coronavirus tests a day. However, over the last few days nowhere near this number have been taken up by “Our NHS”. In fact, the highest number on one day had, until yesterday, been about 16,000. Yesterday it jumped to 18,668, but this will not be good enough for the MSM. At long last the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has given approval for one of the new types of ventilator. It appears that the MHRA has continually changed the specifications for new ventilators, making them more and more complex. The consortium, including Ford, Siemens, Airbus, BAe and several F1 teams, has been awarded an order to produce 15,000 of the Penlon ES02 model. The first 40 machines will be delivered to MOD Donnington today for the military to start distributing them. Several hundred will be produced next week before production is fully ramped up. The NHS currently has about 10,000 Ventilators, this will more than double their capacity.
Things are going to be fun in Parliament now it’s been agreed that there are going to be some virtual sessions for urgent questions to ministers and possibly even PMQ’s. The idea is to have 50 MPs in the chamber and up to 120 on Zoom. At the moment MP’s jump to their feet to signify they want to ask a question, how’s that going to work if they are at home? I think it would be funny if the speaker has a mute button to shut up that Scottishland windbag. I had a little chuckle to myself when I heard that the French aircraft carrier, Charles de Gaulle, has had to return to Port in Toulon from patrol. 668 members of the crew, over a third, have gone down with the virus rendering the ship non-operational. The French opposition want an inquiry to establish how the pride of the French navy came to be crippled. The ship’s been at sea since 15th of March and the sailors aren’t supposed to have been in contact with any one, so the question is where did the infection come from.
The Nightingale Hospital Birmingham was officially opened today by Prince William. It’s 500 beds have been available to patients since 10th April but none are as yet occupied. The idea was for it to take the ICU overspill from hospitals in the area but this hasn’t occurred yet. The 500 beds could become 2000 if necessary. About 300 staff have already volunteered to work there. We all know the fuss about the shortage of face masks, drug smugglers thought they had hit on a bright idea when they hid 30 pounds of Cocaine, worth £1 million, in a shipment which they tried to get through the channel tunnel. Unfortunately for them, British customs officers at the French end stopped them as the export of masks is regulated by the EU. The Polish lorry driver has been arrested.
Not such a nice day in London, I think it will have to be a snooze on Bozzie’s office chair again today, it’ll probably be too wet and cold to be on my favourite windowsill. Looks like the masked man is no longer on my feeding rota, I’m quite happy with this arrangement. I was delighted to read the city of Zhuhai has joined the city of Shenzhen in banning the sale and consumption of cat and dog meat. Last week the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture recommended that dogs should no longer be considered livestock and be classed as pets. However, it’s only a recommendation as local authorities have to make their own laws. I would hate to think that I could end up on the menu in Bozzie’s favourite Chinese take away.
Sad Dick, the mayor of London, has decided people will have to get on and off buses by the middle doors or, if they have them, rear doors, to keep passengers away from drivers. This makes collecting fares very difficult so buses in London are to be free to ride. As a further measure the first few rows of seats are to be roped off. Sad Dick’s Transport for London had launched a 3 week trial on routes out of one garage but the driver’s union said it wasn’t going quickly enough. Consequently the trial has been cut short and it’s being launched across the system. A bit later Sad Dick announced that he wants everyone using buses and tubes to wear face masks. According to the WHO, unless they’re medical grade they’ll be useless and this type of mask is in very short supply.
The Chinese haven’t just been scamming the world with sales of faulty or non-existing PPE and Coronavirus tests, they’ve lied about the numbers killed by the virus. They’ve revised the figures for Wuhan, increasing them by a mere 50%. It makes you wonder what else they’ve lied about. Perhaps the report that their economy has shrunk by only 6.8% is a lie too. Marine Researcher think they’ve discovered the world’s longest animal. It’s a string like creature that arranges itself in a helical spiral about 45 feet in diameter. If stretched out it’s thought it would be around 350 feet long, about 3 time longer than a blue whale and a lot longer than me, even measuring from the tip of my nose to the end of my tail!
Rishi Nik-Nak has extended the furlough scheme by a month following the three week extension of the lockdown, until the end of June. Because of the laws governing redundancy, if the Government hadn’t moved now, lots of companies would have had to start formal 45 day redundancy consultation procedures. A coronavirus vaccine task force with the idea of bringing together big pharmaceutical companies, researchers and government has been announced with the ultimate aim of producing hundreds of millions of vaccine doses. They’ve received additional funding, on top of the £100’s of millions already given as grants. There are over 120 vaccines being developed world wide, with several British ones looking promising. One developed by researchers in Oxford is almost ready to start human trials in the UK. If it’s successful the big pharmaceutical companies say they can have the first of millions of doses available by September. The most vulnerable and health service workers would be the first to be vaccinated. The number of available tests rose today to 38,000, although only 19,000 were taken up. As a result, testing will be made available to police, firefighters and prison officers to fill the available daily capacity.
Someone in Scottishland has finally come forward to claim a £58 million Euromillions win from March the 17th. The lottery operators had put out an appeal and the claim was made yesterday. If it had been me I wouldn’t have hung around, just think I could have a diamond encrusted collar, Felix chicken for every meal, a heated cat basket for those chilly winter nights and a pillow for my favourite snoozing windowsill.
Even my Dreamies girl has to have a day off, so it’s someone I don’t really know sorting out my grub today. She’s very nice, she talked to me and stroked me, she can stand in again. An intriguing bit of news this morning from the USA. The US Navy has been testing every member of the crew of the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt after an outbreak of the virus. They have very nearly finished and so far 600 of the 4800 crew have tested positive. The interesting thing is that about 400 of the 600 were totally symptomless. This goes some way to explain how the virus spreads through the population.
After the initial panic buying almost everything is back in the shops, with one notable exception, flour. The flour mills have been running flat out producing 4 million bags a week but this hasn’t been enough to satisfy demand as it appears people in lockdown are spending their time baking. The bottle neck is lack of bagging capacity. Bakers and factories receive their flour in big sacks or bulk tanker deliveries, but this is no good for supermarkets who need it in small bags, hence the shortage. I heard Maajid Nawaz on the radio this morning talking about the shortage of PPE. He said he was fed up with doctors and unions blaming the government and he’s a lefty. He said by law business and industry employers have the duty to supply adequate PPE and this applied to the likes of bus companies and care homes. In the case of the NHS it is their responsibility to supply PPE and that under the Lansbury changes it was actually illegal for the Government to interfere with how the NHS spends its money. The problem is there’s a global shortage of PPE. Even if it could be purchased it is very difficult to ship as airfreight rates have more than doubled and sea freight takes many weeks. Still the lefties chorus it’s all the fault of “Wicked Tories” and nothing to do with our wonderful NHS.
I mentioned the Oxford vaccine yesterday. I heard the lady in charge on the radio this morning and I must say she sounded very confident that the development was going to be successful. She said they’d made a number of similar vaccines in the past and that this one was being tested on people right now. The testing timetable is designed to lead to approval in August. Pharmaceutical companies were readying production facilities so that the instant approval is given they can begin manufacture. If this works the first million doses will be available in September. The latest whinge seems to be coming from local government. It’s saying it’s running out of money because of the virus. The Government has jumped on this one immediately and the Local Government Minister has announced an additional £1.6 billion of funding. Similar cash settlements are being made to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland through the Barnett formula. Another council moan is that fly tipping has increased. Hardly surprising when many councils across the nation have shut down their tips. You may remember I recently predicted exactly this, just call me Nostradamus Cat.
My final tale for the week is about Lancashire police. They haven’t been getting a lot good publicity recently. Earlier this week I mentioned how they had topped the list of forces issuing lockdown fines. Today there’s a video circulating on social media showing an officer who has stopped a motorist and is throwing his weight about. When the motorist says he has done nothing wrong the officer threatens to arrest him. When the motorist asks “what for” the office say he will make something up and asks the motorist “Who are they going to believe, me or you?”. The police said they owed the motorist an apology.
I’m off for my supper and then to my nice comfy basket, I’ll be back next week.
© WorthingGooner 2020
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file