The familiar five notes of BBC Breaking News sounded at around 10pm last night to confirm what I’d been fearing all day. France, where we’re booked to go on holiday for three weeks from tomorrow, has been added to the Government’s 14-day quarantine list.
There was speculation for most of the day that our nearest neighbours had “done just enough” to avoid the ignominy.
You wonder how many dozens of infections swung it the wrong way ruining the holidays of 10,000s of Brits and putting at risk thousands of jobs in the travel and tourism sectors.
It seems none of that matters as this hapless Government blunders its way into its next crisis desperately trying to make amends for the cock-ups at the start of the pandemic.
Unless the French legally force Brits to quarantine, and rather pathetically there are threats of reciprocal action, we will probably still be going on holiday as Mrs Jones can work from home. An option not available to so many people who work in non office-based lower paid work such as retail, manufacturing, care and hospitality.
What awaits us in coronavirus uptick, socially distant, mask-wearing France is anyone’s guess. I’ve resigned myself to a very different kind of holiday but am worried whether we’ll be welcome and if the resorts will start shutting up shop.
It feels to me that Governments across the developed world have gotten out of control. I heard that the New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern locked down Auckland, which accounts for 40% of the country’s GDP, for just four infections. That makes the UK’s action announced by transport secretary Grant Shapps (pictured above) seem like a beacon of moderation.
Assuming we go – and the jury’s still out – we will then have to self-isolate for 14 days “in one place where you can have food and other necessities delivered and stay away from others.”
These draconian measures are far more stringent than the original lockdown only allowing you to leave your accommodation in these very limited circumstances:
- you need urgent medical assistance (or where your doctor has advised you to get medical assistance)
- you need access to basic necessities like food and medicines, but only in exceptional circumstances such as where you cannot arrange for these to be delivered
- you need to access critical public services such as social services and victim support services, but only in exceptional circumstances
- you need to go to the funeral of a family member of someone you live with
- you need to visit a dying or critically ill family member or someone you live with
- you need to fulfil a legal obligation such as participate in legal proceedings
- there’s an emergency
These conditions are so onerous that I’d be tempted to carry on as normal and risk the £1,000 fine that has only been imposed on a handful of people.
I’d be sensible of course, I would socially distance, wear a mask, wash my hands and stay away from family in the first week back. I’d even perhaps take a test to be sure I hadn’t caught the virus, there’s plenty of capacity.
Sadly that’s not enough for officialdom who seem to be using Covid to control every aspect of our lives. It’s all making me deeply fearful for humanity’s future and the rest of time on this earth.