Perhaps, at last, we really are learning to live with Covid-19. The government’s decision to scrap a host of the most over-bearing restrictions on travel suggests that life may one day return to something like normal.
When the new variant was identified in southern Africa, it made sense to quickly slap restrictions on travel from those countries. Once it became endemic, those restrictions went – and these ones, too, needed to go. It’s abundantly clear at this point that travel restrictions are not going to do anything to stem the wave of infection. That being the case, it’s time to reopen the country as much as possible.
As we enter 2022, let’s hope that this pragmatic approach continues. Politically it may always be seen as advantageous to engage in some do-something-itis, but economically, a return to something like normal is the only thing that matters. Part of that effort is a welcome return to the art of putting figures, and events, in perspective.
We know that Covid-19 has a cost. It has a physical cost, an economic cost, and it is extraordinarily mentally draining. The first two years of this pandemic have seen governments across the world focussing almost entirely on reducing cases, reducing hospital admissions, and ultimately reducing the number of people passing away.
It is not heartless to say that the balance needs to be reset towards not just one part of the equation, but all three. Covid-19, and its variants, is now a part of our life for the foreseeable future. The government deserves great credit for sticking to its guns during the rise in Omicron cases, and refusing to go forward with restrictions that were blindingly obviously ineffective. Witness the ludicrous bans on nightclubs in Scotland, which has done precisely nothing to affect the spread of the disease. The economic hit to their owners, however, has been all too real.
Let’s hope it really is a happy new year – and one which allows us a real return to normal.