Britons urged to travel to Greece this summer

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filippos
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Re: Britons urged to travel to Greece this summer

Postby filippos » Fri May 15, 2020 2:43 pm

Kilkis wrote:If the UK was a company and the government was the board of directors then I think care home deaths would present a compelling case for corporate manslaughter charges. .......... ............... People are dying of COVID-19 today in care homes. The disease has past the peak. The NHS was not overwhelmed and is currently running at around 20 % occupancy of intensive care beds. Why are care home residents who develop severe COVID-19 symptoms not being admitted to hospital where they might survive given suitable treatment?
Warwick


I doubt that the government has much influence over day by day or hour by hour decisions made in hospitals by medical staff, NHS local management and care home management especially before it was known that care home residents were being denied proper care. It's the much venerated medics and/or hospital managers who decide which patients get particular treatment. It's they who know how many beds are available and who gets priority if the supply is at or beyond capacity. It's not a member of the government who makes the decision about treatment for someone dangerously ill. It's not government that says, "I think this person is unlikely to recover; they should be in intensive care but we don't have a bed available (or 'we don't have enough spare beds to risk blocking one that could be occupied by someone more likely to survive'); we'll have to send them home." That, in many cases, happens to be a care home.

Last week it was reported in the Grauniad (or The Economist or Spectator which allow me to read a handful of articles before closing their pay wall gates) that some hospitals have returned patients to care homes without disclosing to their management that the person was infected with the virus. In some cases, where care home managers had been informed, they had argued that the person should remain in hospital for treatment but the hospital staff rejected their pleas presumable because of policy decided by hospital managers. In a very few cases care home managements have alleged that some of their residents have just been abandoned at the entrance giving the care home no option but to take in their resident.

I think the vast majority of front line medical staff have been working their socks off and risking their own well-being but there's the occasional bad egg in any organisation (especially large ones) and sometimes it's involved a whole section of the organisation. Over the years a few GPs have been revealed as mass killers and there have been nurses and others who have deliberately caused deaths in hospitals by administering overdoses of medications and other substances. A few hospitals have been condemned as severely substandard; Stafford ring any bells? Wasn't there a children's hospital where infant deaths were way over the national average? Yes, such cases are very rare but they do happen. No doubt there are sub-standard care homes where residents have died prematurely or suffered abuse at the hands of staff but most are pretty good.

It's too easy to blame the government for everything; in many cases the best a government, or ministers, can do is close the stable door after finding out about any roguery then do their best to prevent similar events in future. If any of the alleged malfeasance is proven I agree there should be prosecutions of the perpetrators.

Kilkis
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Re: Britons urged to travel to Greece this summer

Postby Kilkis » Fri May 15, 2020 3:27 pm

I sort of agree with your argument, Filippos, but one piece of information worries me. A few years ago the government developed a formal policy of not admitting residents from care homes into hospital if they were in the advanced stages of dementia. While I have concerns about it as a policy I can understand the rational behind it. There is absolutely nothing a hospital can do for a patient in the last stages of dementia and admitting them to hospital can cause them great distress. I just have a niggling worry that it has become a COVID-19 policy by default when it is not appropriate. We know that a percentage of elderly and frail people with COVID-19 do recover if provided with hospital treatment.

Even if your description is completely correct the government cannot escape responsibility. They are standing in front of cameras everyday saying that the NHS was never overwhelmed, that triaging decisions about who should and shouldn't get treatment, as happened in Italy, were never needed and they are now at about 20 % capacity. They have even closed the much vaunted Nightingale hospitals because they don't need them. If hospital management are making the decisions you describe, and there is a lot of evidence that they are, then the government are straight lying to the British people. That is their responsibility. The government determines what resources individual NHS Trusts have. If trusts do not have the capacity to admit care home residents who are seriously ill with COVID-19 that is the government's responsibility not the trusts. To lie and say it isn't happening only compounds their culpability.

Warwick

filippos
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Re: Britons urged to travel to Greece this summer

Postby filippos » Fri May 15, 2020 7:06 pm

Kilkis wrote:... ... The government determines what resources individual NHS Trusts have. If trusts do not have the capacity to admit care home residents who are seriously ill with COVID-19 that is the government's responsibility not the trusts. To lie and say it isn't happening only compounds their culpability.
Warwick

Surely, if Trusts have been discharging sick people when they have the facilities required to treat them appropriately (as has been quite widely reported in UK media) then, presumably, they have received the resources needed. In that case there are some rogue medical staff about or it's "guidance" from hospital management or a bit of both. A 'nod and a wink' can be impossible to pin down. One should also allow for a few genuine errors of judgement by overworked exhausted medical staff.

Of course politicians lie, it's in their DNA, usually as a skin saving exercise, almost inevitably their own and very, very occasionally because they genuinely feel that releasing the information could be damaging to anything from national security and below. Having said that I can't think of any politician that I've trusted since I was 18 (roughly 60 years ago). That applies from office crawler to the highest levels of government.

Kilkis
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Re: Britons urged to travel to Greece this summer

Postby Kilkis » Sat May 16, 2020 11:31 am

I think deaths in care homes is an area that HSE should investigate. They have the authority and the expertise to do so. Health and Safety legislation is a unique area in which, as far as the process is concerned, you are effectively presumed guilty unless you can prove you are innocent*. All HSE investigations rely on documentary evidence and start at the top of an organisation. A Health and Safety event has definitely occurred, i.e. somebody has died. What steps did the person at the top of the management structure do to prevent such an event occurring and where is the documentary evidence for those steps? Typically the person at the top will have delegated responsibility to somebody further down. If the person at the top can provide documentary evidence that they did clearly delegate responsibility, through some written procedure, and also delegated the authority necessary to discharge that responsibility then the investigation moves on to the next person down the chain. The process continues until you find somebody who did not discharge their responsibility or the documented procedures can be shown to be inadequate.

It is possible that the investigation may reach a point where the care home is deemed to be responsible, in which case the responsible person could be prosecuted, or that the care home did everything they could be expected to do. It is also possible that the care home investigation could lead to another organisation, such as a hospital or a procurement body, in which case the procedure would again start at the top of the management tree for that organisation. And so on. If it turns out that the investigation discovers that the deaths are effectively due to individual decisions taken by specific managers, either in the care home, a hospital or elsewhere then so be it. If the actions are judged by HSE to be culpable then prosecute those people. If, however, the investigation leads back to government decisions then the HSE investigation should continue there in the same manner, i.e. start at the top.

I am not suggesting every single death in a care home should be investigated in this way. Care homes largely look after the elderly and the elderly do die. In the case of COVID-19, however, the death toll in care homes is astronomical and as such is worthy of investigation.

Warwick

* If an HSE investigation leads to an individual being prosecuted in court then they are deemed innocent until proven guilty in that court case. It is only the HSE investigation mechanism that operates on guilty until proven innocent.

Straycat_67
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Re: Britons urged to travel to Greece this summer

Postby Straycat_67 » Sat May 16, 2020 6:56 pm

As Brits with Greek residents certificates (beige) we will hopefully embark on our delayed drive from the UK to Athens by mid June subject to travel restrictions. All signs suggest we should be okay we these pencilled in dates at present.

Slight concerns about which route to take this year. Usually we go UK - CALAIS - BELGIUM - GERMANY - FRANCE - SWITZERLAND - ITALY - ANCONA FERRY - PATRAS, GREECE. However it's the hotels and the ferry journey that concern us the most, will there be suitable hotels open enroute and will the Minoan ferry be safe enough to cross on.

Alternative route is the long way around via FRANCE - BELGIUM - GERMANY - AUSTRIA - SLOVENIA - and either down through HUNGARY - ROMANIA - BULGARIA. However prefer to go via Serbia and North Macedonia BUT they are not part of the EU and will have to wait and see if EU citizens will gain a right of passage (in respect Covid 19 restrictions) in those countries in due course.

Any thoughts/advice on this years apprehensive drive from the UK to Greece would be greatly appreciated.

There are only the 2 of us (adult couple), but a full car load of the usual "stuff" to take, so sleeping in the car is not an option, she would like to buy a caravan to avoid hotels but I said that's a tad extreme! We either do 2-3 nights and the ferry or 3-4 nights driving the long way around by land.

Stay safe all!

Kilkis
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Re: Britons urged to travel to Greece this summer

Postby Kilkis » Sat May 16, 2020 10:16 pm

Check up carefully on the rules regarding having certification of a negative COVID-19 test issued 72 hours before travelling. It seems aimed at air travel and it is not clear if/how it would apply to overland/ferry journeys but you need to know before you set off.

Warwick

Guy M
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Re: Britons urged to travel to Greece this summer

Postby Guy M » Sat May 16, 2020 10:33 pm

Straycat_67 wrote:As Brits with Greek residents certificates (beige) we will hopefully embark on our delayed drive from the UK to Athens by mid June subject to travel restrictions. All signs suggest we should be okay we these pencilled in dates at present.....!


You must have different information from me. All the signs I see are that visitors from the Plague Island that is the U.K. will rightly be regarded as potential “super spreaders” of the virus as they drive through Europe. At the moment:

Not sure how you’d get off the U.K. easily

Not sure which borders will allow you through

Not sure there’ll be hotels open en route

Not sure why you’d want to do something that many would regard as selfish and thoughtless. This is quite an unusual time to be thinking of overland trips in Europe.

Straycat_67
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Re: Britons urged to travel to Greece this summer

Postby Straycat_67 » Sun May 17, 2020 2:19 am

Guy M wrote:
Straycat_67 wrote:As Brits with Greek residents certificates (beige) we will hopefully embark on our delayed drive from the UK to Athens by mid June subject to travel restrictions. All signs suggest we should be okay we these pencilled in dates at present.....!


You must have different information from me. All the signs I see are that visitors from the Plague Island that is the U.K. will rightly be regarded as potential “super spreaders” of the virus as they drive through Europe. At the moment:

Most major countries "at present" that we will pass through will make you sign a document to say you are purely passing through and not stopping.

Not sure how you’d get off the U.K. easily

Eurotunnel & Eurostar running frequently and as above as long as you are travelling for a valid reason (for us it's travelling to our main residence).

Not sure which borders will allow you through

Subject to change, but by June 3rd Italy will join the other major EU countries in opening up their borders. News across EU is that they want free travel reinstated by June 15th

Not sure there’ll be hotels open en route

That's one thing we are chasing info on, but again will confirm before leaving.

Not sure why you’d want to do something that many would regard as selfish and thoughtless. This is quite an unusual time to be thinking of overland trips in Europe.


Well considering Greece is our main residence I see nothing wrong trying to get "home", subject to taking due care as outlined by all countries Covid 19 guidances. Here in the UK we have been under self enforced very strict social isolation for 2 months, not once have we even been to a supermarket, shop etc... we are not in a vulnerable age group (40-50's here). Quite confident we are being super responsible and would much rather be in the isolation of a motor vehicle than airplane. It's not like we are down on one of the busier Athens Riveria beaches trying to top up our tans (this to me is selfish and thoughless)!

I would normally like you to expand on the sentence that contains the words "selfish and thoughtless", however I see no point. We value our lives as much as anyone else's and if we felt there was danger for us or anyone else in us making this trip we will not or would not do it, but at some point all of us will need to make calculated judgements. Do we all wrap ourselves up in cotton wool until there is a vaccine?
Last edited by Straycat_67 on Sun May 17, 2020 2:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

Straycat_67
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Re: Britons urged to travel to Greece this summer

Postby Straycat_67 » Sun May 17, 2020 2:25 am

Kilkis wrote:Check up carefully on the rules regarding having certification of a negative COVID-19 test issued 72 hours before travelling. It seems aimed at air travel and it is not clear if/how it would apply to overland/ferry journeys but you need to know before you set off.

Warwick


Yes, that is something else we are mindful of. I know Austria were requiring it and almost impossible to get a test prior to leaving the UK that would still be valid by the time we got to Greece by road (4-5 days). At this stage we are playing a waiting game and can only keep our fingers crossed that ALL COUNTRIES continue improving on their cases/deaths. Worst and last thing we need is a second spike any where. The UK is improving and improving quite rapidly now however I do worry about the mentality of our fellow Brits with regards to social distancing and general slackness with the current regulations that are slowly being relaxed etc...

Kilkis
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Re: Britons urged to travel to Greece this summer

Postby Kilkis » Sun May 17, 2020 11:13 am

Be aware that if you are claiming entry to Greece because it is your permanent residence as far as I can tell, for the purposes of controlling the spread of COVID-19, Greece is judging that on the basis of your tax status not your Residence Certificate. Even Greeks moving from one area in Greece to another could only do so by producing a tax clearance form from the tax office in the area that they wanted to move to. If you are registered as tax resident in Greece and have your 2018 tax clearance form with you it shouldn't be a problem but if you are registered as non-tax resident then it might be. The requirement is being dropped for movement from region to region within Greece but could continue to be applied at the border. I stress the word might but it is something you need to check carefully before setting off.

You are correct that the UK is improving but I am afraid your belief that it is doing so quite rapidly is a long way from the truth. When you examine the daily infection curves for many countries the UK has one of the slowest rates of fall indicating that R is only just below 1. When R = 1 the curve stays flat. If R is a little less than 1 then you get a long halving time in the number of new cases per day. It is now well over a month since the UK passed the peak and it has still not got down to half the peak rate and doesn't look like doing so for some time yet. If you look at the countries that have performed best you see much more rapid halving times, typically around 1 week. That indicates an R value significantly less than 1. By all means listen to the daily evening government propaganda broadcast, I do, but also look at the data yourself.

It is hard to find a European country that has a worse halving time than the UK. Sweden looks quite flat but they followed a policy of not trying to control the spread of the disease very hard. Portugal looks a bit slow but not as bad as the UK. The USA looks worse but it is complicated. I think the USA looks more like many peaks occurring at different times. That is feasible since you could view the different states like different countries in Europe where the peaks are clearly spaced in time. Equally the repeating peak pattern could also be reporting anomalies as seen in the UK data.

Warwick

Kilkis
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Re: Britons urged to travel to Greece this summer

Postby Kilkis » Sun May 17, 2020 12:33 pm

bobscott wrote:... It will be absolutely fascinating to see how the various taverna owners and bar owners in Almyrida cope with the regulations for opening an 'organised' beach - hitherto considered to be one with beach beds and umbrellas....



There are shots at the beginning of this video of a beach near Thessaloniki. Mmmmmmmmmm. Social distancing rules? What social distancing rules?

Warwick

Straycat_67
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Re: Britons urged to travel to Greece this summer

Postby Straycat_67 » Sun May 17, 2020 2:26 pm

Kilkis wrote:Be aware that if you are claiming entry to Greece because it is your permanent residence as far as I can tell, for the purposes of controlling the spread of COVID-19, Greece is judging that on the basis of your tax status not your Residence Certificate. Even Greeks moving from one area in Greece to another could only do so by producing a tax clearance form from the tax office in the area that they wanted to move to. If you are registered as tax resident in Greece and have your 2018 tax clearance form with you it shouldn't be a problem but if you are registered as non-tax resident then it might be. The requirement is being dropped for movement from region to region within Greece but could continue to be applied at the border. I stress the word might but it is something you need to check carefully before setting off.

You are correct that the UK is improving but I am afraid your belief that it is doing so quite rapidly is a long way from the truth. When you examine the daily infection curves for many countries the UK has one of the slowest rates of fall indicating that R is only just below 1. When R = 1 the curve stays flat. If R is a little less than 1 then you get a long halving time in the number of new cases per day. It is now well over a month since the UK passed the peak and it has still not got down to half the peak rate and doesn't look like doing so for some time yet. If you look at the countries that have performed best you see much more rapid halving times, typically around 1 week. That indicates an R value significantly less than 1. By all means listen to the daily evening government propaganda broadcast, I do, but also look at the data yourself.

It is hard to find a European country that has a worse halving time than the UK. Sweden looks quite flat but they followed a policy of not trying to control the spread of the disease very hard. Portugal looks a bit slow but not as bad as the UK. The USA looks worse but it is complicated. I think the USA looks more like many peaks occurring at different times. That is feasible since you could view the different states like different countries in Europe where the peaks are clearly spaced in time. Equally the repeating peak pattern could also be reporting anomalies as seen in the UK data.

Warwick


On your question of personal circumstances, we are Greek tax office holders since 2002, property owner for 15 yrs, hold residence certs and it's our home :)

With respect the "R" I do not think you can compare any country to another when you look at some of the huge variances across the nations, some live in denial, others are being totally deceptive..... Being in the UK at present and watching every piece of UK news you can see clearly since mid April the improvement is good. In fact data released 2 days ago suggests the R value is between 0.4 - 0.8 if you look at by regions, see attached. Cases are still quite high at circa 3,500 per day but you have to take in to account testing is now averaging 100,000-130,000 per day. A month ago we were testing 10,000 per day and getting 4,000 per day. Hospitals beds have gone from 60% down to 20 odd % for Covid 19 patients, it's all about the care home sector which is inflating our figures, this is the one area the UK has failed on.
By no means are we doing great but we are doing much better over here and unless your on the ground it's difficult to gauge clearly from the odd news article. Fortunately we are taking it very very slow with relaxation of rules and can use other countries as guinea pigs, I'm just thankful I don't live in the States!
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Maud
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Re: Britons urged to travel to Greece this summer

Postby Maud » Sun May 17, 2020 4:14 pm

The only reason cases are falling in the U.K. (like most countries), is down to social distancing. I watched Gove on the Andrew Marr Show this morning, and he begrudgingly spoke about ‘R’. - True to form he fudged the question again when asked about it being already out of date by the time it is announced.

We have had the crisis in hospitals, then the crisis in care homes. I accept that children are not so susceptible to the virus as adults, but the ‘jury’ is still out’ on whether or not they are super spreaders. Some scientists claim they are, others disagree, but until we know, we should be careful about allowing schools to become the next conduit for Corvid 19. I don’t think it will be a huge problem for the children but it could be for teachers and parents if the children take the virus home with them.

What infuriates me is that the Government is happy to make comparisons with other countries when it suits them, even though the ‘playing field’ is not the same, yet they are reluctant to do it when numbers are not in their favour . e.g. Children in Denmark who are back at school are 7 years old, and more able to understand the situation. In the U.K. the Government is sending 4 and 5 year olds back to school....but all Gove tells the public is that Denmark is doing it successfully. If anyone in the U.K. accepts Government figures they need to look more closely at the facts first.

I am afraid I do not have your confidence in how things are progressing in the U.K. Stray_cat2. - I wish I did! The latest statement re the R value announced by Matt Hancock yesterday puts it between 0.7 and 1.0. As I said earlier, Gove dodged the question today! The U.K. lockdown has not been as strict as in some other countries. It was late locking down, and is quick opening up again. This is understandable when looking at the economic situation, but how this will work out over future months remains to be seen.

We are certainly the ‘unwelcome guests’ in some EU countries already. I would be very careful planning your route to Greece Straycat_2. Our choice is always France, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Switzerland, then ferry from Ancona or Bari. We don’t use accommodation anywhere en route, and don’t even leave our vehicle on ANEK, or EuroTunnel. I would still be reluctant to make the journey though until we know the situation across the rest of Europe. I would not want to upset anyone else by travelling through their country if they were not happy with it. Neither would I want to get to a border and be refused entry!

Having said that.....I would certainly not want to get on a plane, (unless sit was a matter of life and death), until we know more about hygiene and safety matters!

Kilkis
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Re: Britons urged to travel to Greece this summer

Postby Kilkis » Sun May 17, 2020 4:59 pm

Maud wrote:... Children in Denmark who are back at school are 7 years old, and more able to understand the situation. In the U.K. the Government is sending 4 and 5 year olds back to school...


I had a conversation with my son about a week ago, Maud. I said I thought it would be better for sixth formers to go back first. They are more or less adults and much better able to understand the need for social distancing. I went on to say that 4 and 5 year olds are irresistibly attracted to each other and cannot resist rolling about and touching each other. He pointed out that sixth formers are also irresistibly attracted to each other and cannot resist rolling about and touching each other but for very different reasons. I think I must be getting old.

I am glad you think the UK is doing well, Straycat-67, because the rest of the world thinks that the UK and the USA are a complete joke. Forget the R number. The UK is currently getting well over 3,000 cases per day. South Korea went from zero cases to 20 cases per day for several days. They believe the up-tick was caused by either 1 or possibly 2 or 3 active cases circulating in the community. In order to contain that increase of 20 cases per day within 2 to 3 days they traced, tested and where necessary isolated 10,000 individuals. How many individuals do you need to trace test and isolate every day if you have over 3,000 new cases per day? Do you believe the UK has the capability to do that? I don't know of any country that has relaxed social distancing at all while they were still running at over 3,000 cases per day.

Warwick

Maud
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Re: Britons urged to travel to Greece this summer

Postby Maud » Sun May 17, 2020 5:29 pm

I am on your son’s ‘team’ Warwick. I have a five year old granddaughter, and in my working life I taught 11 to 18 year olds. I agree with him totally!

I have just watched Lord Sumption being interviews on the BBC 24 Hour news. - What an arrogant dinosaur! Thank goodness I never had to appear in the High Court when he was a judge! (Incidentally....I have never had to appear in Court!). It is a good thing he doesn’t live in Greece, as he thinks being told what to do by a Government is totally out of order!

Like many, I am not a lover of being told what to do, but at least I have a social conscience and would not happily spread the virus as he would be happy to do. He said he would go to a pub or theatre in the U.K. tomorrow. When asked by the news reader if this was responsible, as he could be a spreading the virus to other, he said it was up to them if they also wanted to go to the pub and catch his virus!

Obviously he sees two societies......one where he thinks cautious people should totally self isolate, and the other where everyone who wants to go out can do so at random and spread the virus at liberally! - Selfish attitude....not showing responsibility towards other people at all!


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