AGE APARTHEID TURNS THOSE OVER 65 INTO LEPERS
According to the government advisors, restrictions of movement could be imposed on retired people that will effectively stigmatise everyone over 65 as an ‘age leper’.
According to EL PAIS, Spain’s national newspaper, ‘The European Union’s remaining 26 nations could adopt ‘Age Apartheid’ which could mean those reaching sixty-five years of age will be issued with special passports that like a diving licence will restrict their activities’.
Presumably, as many people are obliged to work after their 65 years are completed, their employment status will change accordingly.
Of course, every family is dependent in some way on the activities of their older family members. Would grandparents be allowed to babysit, visit or take their grandchildren to the beach? Would family members, dependent upon a driver over the age of sixty-five, find their lives restricted.
As the COVID-19 pandemic advanced, countries and international organisations are working on post-crisis guidelines on measures that needed to be adopted: detecting and isolating cases, when and how to introduce social distancing, and so on.
What is yet to be published, however, is a manual on how to end these measures. This part of the process is not an exact science. It will depend on trial and error, ‘experts’ admit, as part of a process during which governments will be learning from the failures and successes, both their own and those of others.
EL PAÍS has spoken to half-a-dozen public health specialists about the issue. All of the ‘experts’ consulted say that the measures will not be relaxed suddenly. Once transmission levels are sufficiently low, more activities will gradually be permitted, and strict monitoring will be put in place if there are any new outbreaks.
There may be different rules for different people. Epidemiologist Antoni Trilla, who is a member of the regime’s consulting team, explains that seniors and those with certain illnesses will have to stay confined to their homes longer than young, healthy people. ‘Everyone is clear that this will affect those who are over 65 or 70,’ he says.
Trilla is even talking about some kind of ‘health travel document’ for those who have had the disease, and who supposedly has immunity, so that they can get back to normal life having passed an antibody test. This is something that countries such as Germany and the United Kingdom are also considering.
There is also talk of effectively sealing regions within nations. This would mean, for instance, restrictions applying for those travelling from say Andalucia to Valenciana or Ostend to Berlin.
Daniel López Acuña, a former director at the World Health Organisation (WHO), believes that this would be ‘complicated’ because doing so would involve ‘compartmentalizing and sealing’ areas. ‘If you start to have comings and goings in hot zones, there is a high risk of reintroducing the virus in a place from which it had already gone,’ he added ‘Allowing people to go for walks could be one of the first measures, but with a lot of discipline when it comes to distance and only alone,’ says López Acuña.
They believe that most activities (leisure, sports, and entertainment) that involve crowds of people will be constrained or cancelled altogether.
‘I think it will be difficult for children to return to school this academic year, because although the disease doesn’t affect children in general, if the virus enters a school or kindergarten it will infect everyone, taking it to the family and spreading it once more,’ says Pere Godoy, the president of the Spanish Epidemiology Society (SEE).
There is a widespread opinion that the capacity limits of bars and restaurants may have to be reduced, including concerts and sports events.
‘I would be incredibly cautious with social gatherings and I would not permit them during the month of May, because there is a risk that the disease could be amplified, and that’s what we want to avoid,’ adds López Acuña.
‘I’m sure that we will once again enjoy concerts, festivals and sporting events,’ says Martin Moreno, although he adds menacingly that measures that until now were unusual will have to be implemented, such as smaller crowds, assigned seating and hygiene levels that involve the public, ‘who will have to be a part of the solution via the appropriate behaviour.’
Martin Moreno says that this summer will be different to that of other years, with ‘lower density and smaller crowds, especially in closed premises. Like this story? Share it with others.
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