Second Wave more likely with ‘Traffic Light System’? – Liberal Article
The British government’s decision to follow a ‘traffic light system’ to assess the risk of travel to destinations around the world truly baffles me. I understand that people are anxious to get out of the UK and go on holiday, but is that not an unnecessary risk? And won’t it increase the chance of a second wave?
Lockdown has been extremely difficult. Many people have not been able to see friends and family for a long time. Whilst currently being in Switzerland, a country that has had reduced lockdown measures for a while, it is hard to imagine what life is like in the UK.
However, I strongly disagree with the government’s decision to allow travel without quarantine. Surely, we want this virus to ‘go away’ in a sense, but that isn’t going to be possible if travel is permitted. The advice from medical advisors around the world, and the WHO, is to keep social distance and quarantine. Travelling makes that impossible. Sitting inside a vacuum of air for 4 hours to Greece, whilst being less than arm’s length apart from the person next to you creates a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses.
The measures suggested by medical experts aren’t only there to protect you, but to protect others. You may not even have the virus yourself, but you can still be a carrier. Being near people who have come from almost anywhere in the world means you are more likely to catch it and pass it on. If these travel restrictions are even further reduced come winter, we will be entering ‘flu season’.
The CDC estimates that between 39-56 million Americans had the flu in the 2019/20 flu season (October-April). How can it be justified that the government allows UK residents to travel around the world when so many people contracted a virus in approximately 6 months? These are only the Americans’ numbers. Consider Europe, which has freedom of travel across 27 countries, how easy will it be for a virus to spread if travel is back to normal?
The British government has really underestimated how severe and quickly a second wave could happen. Although we are also at fault even if it is easy to stick all the blame on the government. Society is itching to return to normal, but is it worth risking lives? We need to be more patient in what we say and do. ‘I’ll be safe and keep my distance’ is easier said than done.
Written by Senior Liberal Writer, Charlie Papamichael.
Point of Information
Foreign travel is safe – A Conservative Response
The system discussed here has been left unexplained, and so is dealt with unfairly. Countries with a green light, mean they are safer, or as safe as the UK. Countries with an amber light are less safe than green ones. Those with a red light require quarantine. This means you will be just as safe in France, or in any other country on the list. The list is constantly reviewed and updated. Johnson encouraged people to have their holiday in Britain. That too will risk increasing that region’s COVID-19 cases. You wouldn’t do a 2-week quarantine after you got home either.
The point about the flu statistic is misleading. Using American statistics is not helpful when discussing a British policy decision. Travel between the US, EU and UK is still highly restricted. Their case numbers are out of control and I suspect they will be for a while. Even If you could get into the US, when you come back you would have to quarantine. If restrictions were reduced in winter, that will be because of a sustained decrease in cases.
The WHO might still advise for social distance and quarantine but that is world advice, so does not take into account national situations in individual countries. That is not to say ignore the WHO. We should take their advice along with scientists here, and with countries we intend to relax restrictions with. I don’t believe this policy would have been pursued if it was not safe to do so and the government weren’t trying to prevent a second wave.
We cannot live in lockdown forever. We need to resume elements of normality where we can. I agree that it heightens the risk of a second wave. But any form of opening up will. It is a managed risk. When a second wave happens, it will not have been because of foreign travel. It will have been because of complacency at home. Precautions are already being made for a second wave.
By Junior Conservative Writer, Kieran Burt
Johnson throws caution to the wind, yet again – A Labour Response
I find myself sharing some of Charlie’s scruples regarding the government’s latest “traffic light”, or “travel corridor” plan. In the short term, obviously, the exclusively European countries accepting British tourists with no tests, or quarantine, have more to fear than we do. After all, we do bear the grim accolade of being the worst affected country in Europe.
However, if, and when we can relax our lockdown measures to a similar extent to countries like Switzerland, it is quite clear that this current system will become dangerously inadequate. It is one thing to allow citizens to leave for non-essential travel during a pandemic, and quite another to welcome them back home without the faintest sense of caution.
The absolute bare minimum for returning holidaymakers should be a 14 day quarantine period. Better still, a health certificate showing evidence of a recent, negative test should be required, as is the case for tourists arriving in Austria. The most sensible scheme, in my opinion, is what Iceland has enacted. Simply put, they require “testing on arrival or self-isolation for 14 days“, and if you or an individual who sat near you on the plane test positive, you will be given “accommodation at a specialised isolation centre at no cost“.
If the government deigns to give Britons the holiday so many are craving, the very least they can do is provide a safe, fiscally egalitarian process for when they return.
By Senior Labour Writer, Max Ingleby.