Having spent much of the summer seething about the Government’s handling of the pandemic I’m finding little to be annoyed about in the Three-Tier system announced yesterday.
It seems to me that a sensible middle course has been struck between doing nothing and the full national lockdown that was imposed earlier this year.
I’m pleased that the Government chose to ignore scientific advice and not go for the “circuit break” they recommended on September 21st. A brave decision that properly protects some of our basic freedoms and should help hospitality businesses survive where possible.
The local approach also seems sensible particularly as it means there’s little chance of my Midlands village – far enough away from universities and big city conurbations – ever moving from the medium to high tiers.
The involvement of local mayors – though now they have to makes a decision it’s difficult to know whether they want more or less lockdown – is a good thing adding some nuance to the restrictions.
Despite them having similar numbers of positive tests, the differing positions of the two biggest north-west city regions makes sense. Liverpool wanting to be in the very high category because of the level of hospitalisations, Manchester choosing to stay out of it because they say most of the infections are on University campuses.
Even Nicola Sturgeon has said she’ll introduce a similar three-tier system in the coming weeks and aims to “align as closely as possible” to the other UK nations. I note she can’t bring herself to say England’s system and I’m sure she’ll do something slightly different just for the hell of it.
As tough as the restrictions are, particularly in the very high category, they are nowhere near as bad as under the full nationwide lockdown of the Spring.
The measures are far less draconian than some parts of the world such as Australia and New Zealand which have pretty much ruled out international travel until/if a vaccine is found.
At least we can go abroad as long as we fill in the forms, take the airport tests and quarantine afterwards.
I’ve already decided foreign travel is not for me right now and I’m beginning to wonder whether I should be a bit more careful myself at least for the time being.
I’ve spent two of the last four evenings in the pub a little closer to strangers than I’d like. I also go to a gym a couple of times a week. The treadmills that I use are well spread out and I clean them before and after my runs but the pool area can be busy and should I be going into the sauna, I ask myself.
These are the little decisions I have to take about my own health, trifling compared to the huge ones the Prime Minister has to wrestle with most days since February.
I hope he’s got it right, that the testing system works, the infections start to plateau and the deaths stay low because of the better treatments we now have. Then perhaps in the Spring or before we’ll have a vaccine ready.
I guess we’ve all got to sit tight and see what happens but, at least and, at last, a clear, coherent, flexible system is in place.