Sunday 17 January 2021

Not quite tough enough early enough


A familiar point from Andrew Marr this morning:

Lucy Fisher, Daily Telegraph: We heard from the Prime Minister on Friday that there will be major changes to the border as of 4am tomorrow. From that point onwards all travel corridors will be scrapped and all inbound passengers forced to produce a negative Covid test and to quarantine for ten days once arriving. This new batch of proposals that the Sunday Times reports on today represents a much stricter series of measures. This would involve the creation of quarantine hotels which would force inbound passengers to stay there and to pay for them. And they are not cheap. We have seen that in Australia, which already has a similar system, that passengers are forced to pay between £1,500 and £2,500 to stay in these hotels. 

Andrew Marr: So this is something that has worked abroad but it hasn't been done here, and it has been effective in the past. I think Number 10 are apparently saying that they haven't taken this decision yet. We'll talk to the Foreign Secretary later on about whether it's going to happen or not. But the accusation has been made again and again and again that this government is not quite tough enough early enough to have the effect that other countries have had

Lucy Fisher: Yes, there have been plenty of questions in the past days about why the government didn't rush to act sooner when we saw the likes of New Zealand take these measures and what they called 'directed isolation' did seem to have a large part of the success early in the pandemic in stopping the spread. But I think the reason that these measures have been considered now really reflects ministers concerns about some of the new variants we are seeing around the world of coronavirus, particularly some of the variants coming out of Brazil, amid the concerns that they could be vaccine-busting. 

And again later in the programme:

Andrew MarrAnd to do that, are you going to require people coming into this country to self-isolate in hotels before they join the rest of the population?  

Dominic Raab: We've said we will keep all the potential measures under review... 

Andrew Marr: (interrupting) I'm sorry to jump in, but...why keep this under review? You know this works in other countries. You know it's been highly effective in other countries. And there is a perpetual suspicion that you are acting slightly too late again and again. Shouldn't you be ahead of the curve and announcing this now?

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