Does the UK need more travel restrictions to reduce Covid?

Asaf Kliger

There’s no shortage of experts who agree. “We currently have more than 50,000 Covid-19 cases per day at a time when international travel is dramatically reduced,” says Professor Martin Michaelis at the University of Kent’s School of Biosciences. “The spread is occurring in all parts of the country, including remote areas. I have no doubt that this increase is caused by community spread within the UK – residents of which currently represent a much higher risk to other countries than vice versa. This is also demonstrated by the new SARS-CoV-2 variant discovered in the UK, and which has been transmitted to other countries by travellers from the UK.”

My theory? The people who moan the loudest about the lack of checks for incoming travellers do so simply because they can’t quite bring themselves to admit that it’s their own behaviour that has contributed to the current state of affairs. They’ll tut smugly about the lack of border checks to friends who have suddenly become childcare providers, and mention how they haven’t left the country once, while happily glossing over the fact they’ve hosted illicit dinner parties, gone on pub crawls and burst countless social bubbles. They’d be horrified at the thought of crossing paths with someone who’s just stepped off a plane from the Caribbean, when it’s actually their rule-flouting mate from Basingstoke, not Barbados, who poses the biggest risk.

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