False hopes over Covid

Inside the Etchingham vaccination centre

Covid is not going to go away just like that, however much we would like it too – and I am as fed up as anybody with being in lockdown – but we should beware of being lulled into a false sense of security by being told daily that the figures are going down.

Yes they are – but they went down in the summer after the first peak of infections, and they went back up again before Christmas – and leapt up after Christmas.

And we are now told we need to keep out new variants of the virus from overseas, and we should follow the Australian example of strict hotel quarantines. However the international tennis now on in Australia had to be closed to spectators this week after the quarantine measures appeared to have failed.

And in this country (with a UK population of nearly 67 million) only about 16 million have had their first vaccination jab which leaves a lot still unprotected – and summer holidays abroad very questionable.

Thousands in hospital beds

So, while some of “the figures are going down” (Wednesday’s data) over 4,000 died in the last seven days, nearly 12,000 were admitted to hospital, and around 21,000 hospital beds were occupied by Covid-19 patients.

It is not surprising therefore that the government is putting its foot down on the “get a jab” pedal, but it is causing some confusion – and false expectations.

Locally we are being sent by our GPs in most cases to Etchingham Village Hall, which actually shares premises with the primary school, so there is a lot of space, and it was needed when I had my jab. I had very clear advice on how to get help to get there if I needed help.

And it is fairly easy to organise when the GPs decide who goes when, and that information is clearly known well in advance – and can be planned for.

Hard to plan for individual choices

However nationally the government is also trying to get as many “jabbed” as possible as quickly as possible so they are offering other choices (and more emerge every day). But they could be in Whitstable, New Romney, Ore or Eastbourne rather than Etchingham – and you choose where to go and when, depending on what slots are available.

But, if you make that choice, as no-one knows in advance who will choose what (unlike the GP determined slots), the possibility of providing transport to the place of your choice becomes virtually non-existent.

And, while GPs at Rye Hill might be able to provide a one-off “mopping up session” for those with transport problems, it would – given the space needed at Etchingham to protect everybody – mean that normal services at that site probably had to be put on hold for that day – or why would they send other patients to Etchingham if they had enough space normally?

So choice can be offered if you have your own transport, and can get to your place of choice, but it may be impractical or impossible to promise to get you there – and the national letter from the NHS does NOT promise that, and neither can our local doctors who probably aren’t patched in to this national network.

And be careful what you say

Elsewhere in this edition we feature an  article about the dangers of being too outspoken in reviews, and those risks can apply as much to comments made in Rye News, social media and indeed paid for newspapers.

We try to protect you by moderating all the comments submitted, but anything you say in a comment is published at your own risk.

But do beware of “convoys”

Highways England (frequently notorious for notices that give them massive amounts of leg room) may in the next 18 months be doing roadworks on the A259 somewhere between Skinners roundabout in Rye and the outskirts of Hastings which might involve the 24 hour closure of both carriageways, side roads, bus stops and lay-bys and might involve a 24 hour 10mph convoy system through Rye, probably from the Kettle of Fish roundabout to the far side of town by King’s Avenue.

There may be diversions from time to time, possibly nearly as far as Tunbridge Wells – but if you use the Udimore Road you can probably get to and from Hastings quicker.  However you have been warned!


Image Credits: NHS – CCG .


  1. If it’s published at my own risk why does it have to be moderated, the reason is that if I put something racist, sexist or slanderous etc on your site you can be held responsible for publishing it.
    I can see why you don’t want that to happen but why not just say that, it’s probably in your small print, but who reads that?
    I like a good exchange of views but I do try to stick to a few basic rules, research the subject, be objective, never get personal and please try not to be a school teacher, it’s hard enough getting people to join the debates without having the slightest error of grammar picked up.
    We’re not all grammar school wordsmiths and in the grand scheme of things does it really matter?
    Good content is far more important than an English Literature lesson.
    I might not agree with your opinion but will fight for your right to have one.
    IMHO of course

  2. Interesting to read Charles Harkness talking about possible road closures from highway England around Rye in possibly the next 18 months.But what about the imminent future on Rye high street, which is fast becoming a dirt track, are Rother District going to wait until lockdown is over,before they adress this serious issue,over to one of our two district councillors, to give us an update on this serious deterioration of our main shopping thoroughfare.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here