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I went to an industry dinner about twelve years or more ago, where the after-dinner speaker was a Government Chief Scientific Advisor. He was a very interesting man, a professor of epidemiology at I think Imperial College. He gave the most terrifying after dinner speech I have ever heard. It was all about the next global virus pandemic, and what would happen when it happened. I remember clearly him talking about the need to close schools, leisure facilities etc to slow/limit the spread. His key message was that it was very much a case of “when” not “if”. The only upside to the truly dreadful scenario he painted was that there was clearly someone in government whose job it was to think about such things. We all went away from the dinner thoroughly depressed.

Well, those prophecies all seem to be coming true now. And even that ray of hope seems doubtful, given all the dithering, U-turns and just plain appalling communications coming out of Whitehall in the past few weeks. One gets the very strong feeling that the emergency planning didn’t go far enough and that the Government is making it up as they go along, which is hardly reassuring.