UK Government Make Decisions On Travel without Covid Data
Scotland and Wales heed advice and put Portugal on the restricted travel list, whilst the UK government make decisions ahead of time
‘Overwhelmingly, the UK is proceeding as one’ says Boris Johnson.
This is Johnson’s perspective, despite Scotland and Wales marching ahead with a different agenda.
Where Art Thou in Europe?
Scotland and Wales have put Greece, Portugal and French Polynesia on the list of quarantined travel. This means anyone living in Scotland or Wales (yes, no being sneaky and entering through England)-on traveling to these countries: will have to quarantine once they return for two weeks.
This includes other countries on the non-exempt list.
Things Not So Rosy In UK-Ville
Despite the union of the four nations during the initial outbreak, there seems to be growing disparity. It comes as the Welsh Health Minister Vaughn Gething argues that the UK government came to the discussion table a little too late. According to Gething, all four nations were to meet unanimously. This was to discuss any growing concern for the infection rate in other countries, but there was no available UK minister at the time.
It was as such, both the Welsh and Scottish government decided to apply restriction upon Portugal and French Polynesia. This was after reviewing data at the meeting, which took place at the Joint Biodiversity Centre (JBC). However, England just went ahead and decided its plans before even looking at the data collectively. The English decision was announced before the meeting, according to Gething.
UK Government Throwing Caution to the Wind
On the surface, it looks like the UK government are not proceeding with caution. And I have to say, this is not the first time. Scotland and Wales imposed the use of face coverings in all public indoor places before England. Scotland and Wales had also imposed restriction upon Greece, England had not. And now it is Portugal.
It has to be said, the Scottish and Welsh government do seem to be proceeding with caution and learning from past mistakes. It was only recently that Scotland had to re-impose Spain on the non-exempt list. Only five days after having lifted it. To give them their due, they seem to be treading carefully.
What is the Deal With Greece?
Greece has just been put on ‘travel restriction’ in both Scotland and Wales. Whilst Greece argue that their infection rates are not as high as the UK (this may have been the case at the time of speaking), the Health Minister for Scotland (Jason Leitch) explains why Scotland have taken this decision. Whilst the rates within Greece were indeed lower than the UK (Leitch quoted 13 per 100,000); the numbers are still significant. He explained on BBC Breakfast that it was not the procedure to restrict countries only if reaching 20 per 100,000 (the current limit). This is because, as he later explains using an example, all information must be regarded.
All information regarding that country is considered and evaluated and a decision made. Don’t forget, Greece was once largely Covid free during the initial outbreak. However, the virus is now making an appearance and perhaps they are not experienced like the rest of Europe. My observations only.
In fact, the additional information that the Scottish and Welsh governments may be privy to, comes in the shape of their own data. A Tui flight from Greece, which landed in the UK, contained passengers who later contracted Covid 19. This affected both Wales and Scotland, as Leitch explains, and significantly so.
Scotland and Wales Doing What They Think is Best
This is extremely reassuring, it sounds like both the Welsh and Scottish governments are taking a more cautionary, and to my mind, exemplary approach. This is not the time to be hasty.
Good on Scotland and Wales, doing what they believe is best, this emanates the words of Welsh Health Minister: Vaughn Gething.
“I don’t see how you can have direct advice of high risk to public health and not take action. I have to do what I think is right.”
Scotland and Wales Take a Stand
These times are crazy, challenging, disparaging, and separatist. They are also paradoxically unifying, kind, special, and unique. As much as I always think of the political agenda behind the Scottish Government’s reckoning, I do respect what they are doing-and I speak as a unionist. I do not want to see the UK separate. But I do believe in a Scottish government, and I respect the devolved unions in their own right.
As much as the dirty world of politics rears its ugly head time and time again, I think there is a lot of sincerity coming out of this pandemic. I have found newfound respect in Welsh First Minister, Mark Drakeford. A grounded man, it has opened my eyes to Welsh politics, and I feel a sense of solidarity towards them.
Wales and Scotland seem to be set on the same course, how long this lasts for is anyone’s guess, but I feel there is a paired agenda.
We need practical leaders, leaders who are sensitive, analytical and astute. I am not sure this is the case regarding the UK government.
And so I think of Hogwarts, the Welsh Quidditch green and the Scottish Quidditch red (I’m making this up), and I love it.