Lockdown 2 (Day 13): Norwich

After rain early on, the day dried out. It was quite mild. I got out on my bike and went out towards Eaton Park. The yellow air ambulance helicopter drifted down carefully onto the landing pad at the Norwich & Norfolk hospital.

Emergency services seem to be busy around the city today. Flashing blue lights regularly catch the eye. Sirens intermittently bounce off the flint walls and concrete shops and office blocks. On the inner ring road the police seem to be in a particular hurry. There are short queues at traffic lights and junctions around the city. This version of lockdown seems to be gradually loosening up.

In Chapelfield Garden there are many people walking in family groups or in pairs. Around lunchtime the street near Marks & Spencer is busy with pedestrians crossing from Haymarket.

Amongst the people I know here, there is an increased level of nervousness. I speak with someone about my own difficulty in this area. I am feeling frustrated by dependency on electronic communications at this time. A phone call is better than text. A friendly face better than a phone call. It seems that many people are turning in on themselves. Gritting their teeth and holding on. This is just over halfway to the promised relief of release. Does anyone believe that Lockdown 2 will be unlocked then?

It is suggested to me that this government does not want to be the first to cancel Christmas since Oliver Cromwell’s Parliament did for the three years from 1647 to 1660. We will see.

Ironically I get a video call from my youngest son from China. All of a sudden e-comms are a gift. We talk to each other from time zones of 8 hours difference for nearly an hour.

We discuss the possibility of my visiting him and seeing China’s wonders after the PRC borders reopen. On this archipelago, our most natural defence against infection, being an island, was wasted by incompetence and complacent management of the points of entry.

All the talk of vaccines today has been about the need to ensure effectiveness of mass vaccination and its fair distribution. The corporations are keen to profit from patents when there is clearly a case for open source sharing of any successful formulae, so that every country could manufacture necessary stocks. Here we see a benefit of competition, the race to produce medicinal solutions and then the negatives, the hunger for the profitable exploitation of any patent for an effective vaccine.

A few months ago we were being warned about this variant of coronavirus being an existential threat to our species and now we witness the rise of share prices because of the escalating profit opportunities for firms identifying a vaccine. The richest nations are busy buying up future supplies of vaccines, while the poorer nations are left to wonder how this will play out when it comes to ensuring everyone has access to sufficient supplies. The Indian government has in the past ignored patent laws to ensure that its people have been able to access medicines that were too expensive to buy. This approach is likely to be a possibility once more.

Spying for nuclear weapons’ plans was a Cold War thing to prevent world domination by one powerful nation; spying for the health of a nation maybe the mission for secret service spies in the mid-21st Century.

First we have to see that the proposed preventatives are effective. Until then the sociability that has proved mankind’s greatest adaptation to coping with a hostile environment has become the greatest threat to its very existence.

Humanity’s survival depends on humanity.


CLP. 17th November 2020