‘Promoting a nanny state’ to extend lockdown for over-65s
EXTENDING the lockdown for over 65s only would be promoting a nanny state according to one politician.
Deputy Jeremy Smithies said the work done by the medical establishment and staff in Guernsey had been exceptional and had inspired confidence and respect throughout the Bailiwick.
Testing, tracing and isolation appeared to have been effective and closing down non-essential travel as well as day-to-day contact had played a major part in containing the disease.
‘Now that we were approaching a time when regulations might be relaxed it would be a pity if an over-cautious tendency was allowed to cause resentment to arise from a large section of the population, the over 65s, by prolonging restriction on their freedom of movement.’
According to statistics, 20% of the population – 12,500 people – were over 65.
‘That was a large number of mainly healthy people to be proposing to restrict from normal daily life, based only on age while ignoring their level of fitness or lack of underlying medical conditions, whilst the rest of the population were increasingly allowed to go about their business and interact socially.
‘There was no prevention of the spread of infection as the elderly were no more infected than the young.
‘The presumption is to protect a particular group of people without considering whether they wish to be protected,’ said Deputy Smithies.
‘It should be their choice whether they expose themselves to hazard or not.
‘They are mature, sensible, intelligent people who are well able to maintain all the necessary precautions against infection outside their homes.
‘I would argue that they are less likely to break the regulations regarding social distancing and avoiding crowds.’
It must be acknowledged that there was a distinction to be drawn between active and mobile older people and those in care homes who were not so active and mobile and who of necessity would be living in closer proximity to others and at greater risk, he said.
In any case, most of the care home residents would probably fall into the ‘extremely vulnerable’ group.
There was an argument that if older people became infected they could be taking up the bed space and resources which could be used by others.
That argument failed because the remaining 80% of the population would not require that available bed space since they were not deemed to be vulnerable according to Deputy Smithies.
‘We were also being told that some elderly patients were not being taken to hospital because it was not in their best interests even though the space was available there for them.
‘A somewhat startling statement unless those patients actually made clear their wish not to be treated and, if that were their wish, why should that be accepted whilst the wish of others to leave lockdown is ignored?’