One of the many criticisms of the Government’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis has surrounded its seeming inability to learn lessons after the first wave.
In particular, the failure to put in place effective border controls once a new variant was identified in India has been held up as one example of failing to take what we learnt from the early days of the pandemic, way back in March 2020, and apply it to an evolving situation.
Whilst it is here – and of course that is to be expected – the decision to close the border is understandable, proportionate, and difficult, frankly, to argue against.
Now it is in place, however, there are two more lessons to be learned. The first is that the stricter border protocols now in place around returning home to a PCR test should actually be enforced.
As travel began to unlock this summer, it was evident that whilst the varying ‘at home’ tests cost an awful lot, there seemed little to no enforcement of them actually being completed. That should change.
The second is that the restrictions should be in place only as long as they absolutely have to be. We have become inured to lengthy lockdowns and restrictions on our freedoms that just two years ago would have been utterly unthinkable.
It is to this Government’s credit that, eventually, they have elected to try and keep life as normal as possible and not been spooked by the myriad self-appointed experts, many of whom are affiliated with the lockdown-yesterday crowd at Independent Sage, for whom any freedom seems too much.
The travel restrictions put in place over the weekend will be bad for business: the travel industry, of course, but so too the retailers and hotels of the West End.
These restrictions are in place, we are told, until we know what impact Omicron might have. They shouldn’t last a moment longer than necessary.