Boris Johnson is warning Devon and Cornwall to ‘act responsibility’, but his policies left us in this mess

Wealthy London townies think they are so clever. Stick a Devon or Kernow bumper sticker on their shiny new Range Rovers and us bumpkins on the peninsula will not have a clue you’re a grockle.

By David Parsley inews.co.uk

We’re wise to that one in these parts. See a flash car with a local green and white or black and white flag on the back, and we know that’s almost certainly a second homeowner bringing Covid down with them.

We may be the playground for the rich, but the region feels entirely neglected by those politicians that love to frolic among their loaded business friends down here. 

On Friday night health minister Nadine Dorries told local MPs the counties would become an “enhanced response area”. She instructed locals to wear masks and socially distance, while at the same time claiming this did not constitute Covid restrictions. School pupils are likely to be forced to wear masks at school from this week. The hospitals are limiting visiting times and allowing just one relative in at a time. Those sound like restrictions to me, minister.

Before the summer the south-west peninsula had done a remarkable job containing Covid, consistently showing the lowest rates of anywhere in England. Now it’s been put in special measures.

The feeling down here is that we were doing just fine before Boris Johnson insisted on bringing world leaders and 20,000 hangers-on down to Carbis Bay in Cornwall. Following the G7 Summit in June, rates around the areas where Johnson enjoyed a non-socially distanced barbecue with the likes of Presidents Biden, Marcon and Chancellor Merkel rocketed by more than 4,000 per cent. 

Downing Street ordered a Covid risk assessment before that summit, but for some reason it is not keen to share it. I know as I have asked No 10 to produce it on three occasions. Each request has been refused. 

Of course, we will never be sure unless No 10 is forced to publish it, but many may believe its reluctance to do so is because it contained a warning of a sharp rise in Covid cases as a result of the global leaders’ shindig. 

G7 was part one of what is turning out to be a miserable summer for both Devon and Cornwall.

Instead of sticking to the mask wearing and social distancing advice, Johnson went in the opposite direction. He permitted 53,000 largely unvaccinated young adults to mosh together at the Boardmasters music and surfing festival in Newquay earlier this month. 

Not only has this event been linked directly to at least 5,000 Covid cases in Cornwall alone, Public Health England is understood to be investigating whether it has led to a new strain of the more potent Delta variant. Just in time to infect the half a million or so young revellers at this weekend’s festivals such as those at Leeds and Reading. 

As Professor John Drury – one of the Government’s most senior scientific advisors – has told i: “The Government has basically said ‘it’s safe now, it’s fine, you’re not going to die’. The problem is of course that 100 people a day are dying.” 

There’s little doubt down here that Johnson’s determination to unlock has led to Devon and Cornwall’s under resourced health services being stretched to such a level that the army has been called in to help the ambulance service cope. 

Of the mere four main hospitals serving the 1.3 million residents – you can double that in the summer – Cornwall’s only A&E department in Truro is on black alert and people are being begged to call 999 only if we believe it’s a genuine emergency.

In her letter to local MPs on Friday – via which the additional Covid measures were announced rather than to directly to local people – Dorries wrote that Johnson was giving us five weeks to “act responsibly” or face “further restrictions”.

We have been acting responsibly, Prime Minister. We aren’t the ones who gave permission for 20,000 people from all over the world to descend on Carbis Bay for the G7 Summit or thought it was a good idea to infect as many unvaccinated young people as we possibly could in Newquay.

We didn’t unlock the entire country, end all Covid-precautions, or push our health services beyond breaking point. We didn’t do that Mr Johnson. You did.

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