“Welsh and UK governments ignored warning of pandemic shortages”, say Communists

posted in: News & Views, Wales | 0

After an online meeting of the Welsh Communist Party’s executive committee today (Sunday, April 5), Welsh CP secretary Trevor Jones issued the following statement:

“The Welsh Communist Party salutes the heroic working people of Wales who are in the front line, fighting the Covid-19 pandemic and keeping our society running. Once again, it is starkly obvious who does the essential work on which we all rely!

“Unfortunately, this work has been made all the harder and more dangerous by the failure of the Welsh and British governments to plan properly for just such a health epidemic as COVID-19.

“Welsh Labour and British Tory ministers neglected to act on the cross-government UK pandemic drill, Exercise Cygnus, which took place in October 2016 and accurately concluded that the NHS would be plunged into an enormous crisis by the outbreak of a highly infectious and deadly strain of influenza.  This wide-ranging exercise highlighted the severe shortages of intensive care beds, vital equipment and even mortuary space that would occur in the event of a real-life public health emergency.

“The British government refuses to release the full report of Exercise Cygnus – but has the Welsh government challenged this? If not, why not?

“Why doesn’t the Welsh government – which is responsible for health care in Wales – publish the report itself?”

Welsh Communists are also calling upon the Welsh government to:  

  • Ensure that all front-line staff in healthcare and other essential services are issued with the protective equipment they need, buying from abroad where necessary.
  • Requisition manufacturing, R&D and distribution facilities in the private and public sectors wherever necessary, in order to provide adequate supplies of respirators, ventilators and testing kits as a matter of the utmost urgency.
  • Transfer all private hospitals in Wales to NHS control and make all healthcare available to patients only on the basis of medical need, not ability to pay.

Mr Jones said these policies will become even more necessary in a “test, trace, isolate and treat” approach as the current “social distancing” strategy comes under increasing pressure.

He also warned that “governments will try to make working class people pay the bill for bailing out private enterprise in the coming economic recession made deeper by the COVID-19 crisis”.

The Welsh Communist Party is therefore urging workers to join and become active in trade unions and community bodies in preparation for “mass campaigning to resist another ten years of austerity imposed after bailing out the banks”.

Welsh Communists also praised socialist Cuba and China for sending medical teams and equipment to Italy and other countries and condemned the US-led campaign of economic and financial sanctions against the peoples of Cuba, Venezuela and Iran.