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Robert WalkerRSS Feed of this column.

I'm Robert Walker, inventor & programmer. I have had a long term special interest in astronomy, and space science since the 1970s, and most of these blog posts currently are about Mars and space... Read More »


Many experts have called on the UK to rejoin the rest of the world in solidarity to test, trace and isolate. My petition to the UK government has just been approved (as of April 24th).

Any UK citizen can sign it. The petition says:

Petition: Take immediate action to find and isolate COVID-19 cases and recent contacts

The World Health Organization has recommended that countries test every suspected case of COVID19, and isolate and treat every confirmed case. It also recommends that they trace every contact and isolate those for 14 days. We call on the UK government to do all these things.

The proposal is to select a small town of 200,000 people. While the rest of the UK follows the exit strategy proposed by the government, this small town will experimentally use a much stricter strategy. Everyone in the town gets tested for Covid-19 - whether they have symptoms or not. This is voluntary but they assume 90% compliance.

Letter with signatures here:

Article in the Lancet:

The authors sent this proposal to the UK government on the 10th April.

We need to protect our health workers and find a way to fix this serious gap in personal protection equipment in the UK.

The survey was open over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend – from Friday 10 April until Monday 13 April 2020.

Dr Nisreen Alwan tweets :

In the UK prince Charles, Matt Hancock and others who get COVID-19 isolate for only 7 days. Yet the WHO say to isolate until all the symptoms resolve plus 14 days.

25 professors of public health, virology, immunology etc have signed a letter asking the UK government to share the evidence for their much shorter isolation period.

The long isolation period for COVID-19 should come as no surprise after SARS. For SARS the isolation period required by the CDC in the US is until 10 days after the resolution of fever, provided respiratory symptoms are absent or improving

First, as a reminder to all of you, do protect yourself using the simple methods recommended by the WHO, not just physical distancing. Learn how to wash your hands thoroughly, and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands, also cover a cough with your elbow not a hand.

COVID-19 is not like flu. It's only transmitted via the larger droplets that fall to the ground in seconds. These methods only reduce your risk of flu but are very effective in stopping COVID-19. These methods work and can save you from a potentially serious disease and may even save your life. They also protect others who might get the disease from you.

This is one of the biggest differences between the UK policy and the WHO recommendations. The UK think that Covid19 is very infectious like flu, and only for a very short time and that if you have it then likely everyone in your house already has it or will get it soon.

But the data from China and now many other places is the opposite. Covid19 is mildly infectious for a long time. It can be infectious through to death if you die and up to two weeks after recovery if you recover.

If you catch it early, often nobody else has got it from the first case. This story is often in the news - couples where one has it and the other doesn’t. Prince Charles got it for instance, and his wife Camilla didn’t get it.