post-COVID diaries - 6/10

Happily, I've been symptom-free for around two weeks now. Altogether I suffered two weeks of sickness and fatigue.

Donald Trump somehow managed to get it on the Friday and be well enough to resume his duties on the Tuesday. Well done, him, eh? [wink emoji]

I just had a call from a journalist from the Luxembourg Times. I'd responded to a social-media post inviting people to discuss their experiences of the Ministry of Health's contact-tracing scheme. I took the opportunity, during the call, to sing the Luxembourg government's praises for its handling of the crisis so far. If I think back to the start of the crisis, the messaging has always been clear, multilingual and accompanied by superb illustrations depicting what is and isn't allowed. These messages were regularly updated and sometimes dropped through people's letter boxes. Some might say: well, Luxembourg is a wealthy country that can afford to do things properly and its size (population just over half a million) makes it easier to govern. What is clear, though, is that the government here has used its money, resources and political acumen wisely and has listened to expert opinion from the outset.

I remember saying to people early on in the crisis that I didn't envy our lawmakers and decision-makers having to face a situation that is unprecedented in our lifetimes (unless anyone remembers Spanish flu). My feeling was that, as much as I find Boris Johnson obnoxious, dishonest and consumed by self-love, and although I would never vote for his party, I wouldn't wish this shit on anyone. When people's lives are at stake it doesn't matter what the political stripe of the government is. If I remember correctly, Keir Starmer — sworn in as opposition leader near the start of the crisis — was reluctant to be too critical of the government, at first.

And yet, the UK government has, to put it kindly, made a whole series of missteps. I won't go through the whole time line, though March 3rd 2020 - when Johnson was going around a hospital shaking hands with all and sundry and saying there was nothing to worry about - stands out; oh and there was the government's chief adviser flouting the rules he himself had helped devise. During a pandemic bad decisions can have grim consequences.

In other words, although they're all in unenviable circumstances, not all governments have approached the matter in the same way.

And here in Luxembourg, Prime Minister Xavier Bettel and Health Minister Paulette Lenert have so far acquitted themselves admirably in these unusual, trying times, unafraid to make unpopular decisions in the interests of public health.  

Coming back to this morning, the lady from the Luxembourg times got more than she bargained for when she called to ask me a couple of things about the health system, poor thing!

In terms of the substance of what she really wanted to know, minus the tangents, I told her that I was glad the Ministry had called me so promptly after I tested positive. Forty minutes is a long time to be on the phone, especially when you're not feeling well, but I understood completely what they were doing and why they needed to enter into such detail. (See my COVID DIARIES entry on 17th September.)

I'll be interested to see what sort of article she manages to put together on the subject. I wonder if others have had similar experiences or if the system has been working as well for everyone else as it did for me.


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