The basics of Covid hygiene seem to have passed many Britons by

Now things are, in the word of the day, chaotic. Few shops have sanitiser at the door, let alone in easy to use dispensers, and this applies to the big national chains as well as corner shops. Pubs and restaurants wonder why they are not doing much business despite staff wandering about maskless and shouting orders across the floor.

Even the police, initially admonished for over-reacting, have had to dust off their drones again to try and stop oversized parties and wedding receptions. The revellers seem blissfully unaware that they risk super-spreading the virus throughout their own neighbourhoods. 

I’m aware much of this will be taken as hectoring. But my point is that by ignoring the basics of good hygiene – measures that can be adopted painlessly as a habit in a matter of hours – we are making things much more difficult for ourselves in Britain. 

The nation seems rightly united on the need for schools to open in two weeks and stay open, yet we appear blind to the fact that our collective indiscipline is likely to render that a pipe dream.

No doubt much of the blame for Britain’s failure to adopt the basics of good Covid hygiene is down to the yo-yoing of ministers. But as much as I would like to see Professor Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer, back on television giving a 10-minute tutorial between programmes, I fear the politics of blame now make that impossible.

In his absence, sceptical readers might turn to this video of Dr Mike Ryan, of the World Health Organisation, saying it as it is. His words, far from nannying, are deeply rooted in the concepts of personal responsibility and individualism.

“Everyone needs to look at their own risk… we do this every day of our lives as human beings, we manage risk,” he says. “We can be advised by government, we can be advised by science. But in the end, this comes down to personal motivation and personal choice. If it doesn’t feel safe, it isn’t safe.”

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