Lockdown buys the island time
IT WAS a moment the island has been anticipating for days, if not weeks.
One many were keen to see, despite its awful consequences.
Lockdown is a forbidding word and the damage done to the island economy will be severe.
But in fighting this remorseless enemy, delay is proving fatal. The coronavirus cannot be allowed to run amok in our community or, all too quickly, our hospital will be overwhelmed.
Evidence from around the world shows that only the most severe action is effective. Some will argue that, despite their severity, the measures announced last night still do not go far enough.
There should be few arguing against the lockdown.
Perhaps that is something to do with an island mentality – being isolated is part and parcel of life on a small rock in the middle of the Channel often cut off by storms and fog.
There is good reason to hope that, if the lockdown is strictly observed, it will slow the number of Covid-19 cases substantially.
That buys us some time. Time in which the infection curve is flattened and doctors and nurses get a fighting chance.
Time for the island to start doing its own on-island coronavirus tests and for the world’s understanding of which treatments work and which do not to improve.
Time for the world’s manufacturers to get on top of the supply of masks and protective equipment that are so vital for healthcare staff and for a test to be devised to show if someone has been infected and has immunity.
And it gets us a little further down the long road to an effective vaccine.
There is no road map for this journey. The islands are, like the rest of the world, having to find their own way.
The two-week shutdown – and it may well be longer – will not be easy. In today’s centre spread Gavin St Pier explains his fears over what isolation will do to the economy and people’s mental health.
But delay is our greater enemy. The time is now.
We must make the sacrifice count.