MAIL ON SUNDAY COMMENT: Enough of the new variant doomsayers – Britain needs a holiday now
It is time the scaremongers were put in their place. Again and again, as the most astonishing vaccine programme of any major country moves towards completion, anxious voices are raised telling us we are still in grave danger.
Well, there is no harm in caution, and overconfidence is always foolish. But there is great harm in overstating risk and in pointlessly keeping people in confinement and under restriction.
And we have reached a point in this country where we really do need to recognise just how far we have come, and to stop running in panic from every warning of a new variant of Covid.
It is time the scaremongers were put in their place. Again and again, as the most astonishing vaccine programme of any major country moves towards completion, anxious voices are raised telling us we are still in grave danger
So far, once these variants have actually been investigated, they have turned out to be relatively minor new problems.
The vaccine works well against them, and their ability to spread the virus is not hugely greater than before. And so we see in practice, with hospitalisations falling and deaths down to low levels.
Repeatedly crying ‘Wolf!’ over such things does no good and some harm.
The new and excessive German ban on British visitors is surely a direct result of those loud voices in this country that made such a fuss about the Indian variant – which, in fact, is already widespread in Europe and by no means confined to Britain.
The vaccination copes well with it. Why talk ourselves into trouble in this way?
Fortunately – and it is much to his credit – the Prime Minister fought off the latest attempt by doomsayers to get him to postpone the long-awaited reopening of much of the country on May 17. Now they will try to get him to put off the even greater liberation planned for June 21.
The reply must always be the same. The vaccination is working. The country longs to throw off its Covid chains and will benefit hugely from doing so. Only hard researched evidence, not panic-driven speculation, should be allowed to delay freedom.
Fortunately – and it is much to his credit – the Prime Minister fought off the latest attempt by doomsayers to get him to postpone the long-awaited reopening of much of the country on May 17. Now they will try to get him to put off the even greater liberation planned for June 21
The same mindset is also badly needed in the Government’s travel and holiday policy, where Boris Johnson has not done so well. Why, when millions of people have had two vaccinations, are we keeping so many holiday destinations off limits, even though we admit, by classifying them as ‘amber’, that there really is not much of a problem?
Imagine the absurdity of travelling to an amber-list country.
A PCR test before you go. A PCR test before you return. Then five or even ten days’ self-isolation, punctuated by two or three more PCR tests.
Then the likelihood of busybodies hammering on your door to check that you are behaving yourself.
First, there is the colossal profiteering cost of these tests, which the Government repeatedly promises to control and does not. For a normal family, it is close to being prohibitive.
Next there is the bullying attitude that lies behind all this. And finally there is the complete lack of proportion. In a country where the vulnerable have long been vaccinated, what is the real likelihood of anyone either taking Covid abroad or bringing it back from, say, a Spanish or Greek island?
Like so many stupid things, it is funny as well as infuriating. A premier with a sense of humour should be able to realise this, and end it.
The Mail on Sunday believes that Britain needs a holiday, and we include Ministers in this.
No one in their right mind could criticise Cabinet members for taking well-earned breaks after more than a year of stress and hard work, preferably next to a sparkling blue southern seashore, with a glass of something crisp and refreshing close at hand. They should make this easy for themselves, and for the rest of us, now.
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