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Where will we be able to go Abroad restriction free from May 17th ?

philosopher

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The Guardian is reporting South Africa is going back on the red list due to the new Covid variant discovered there:

South Africa will be placed under England’s red list travel restrictions after scientists raised the alarm over what is thought to be the worst Covid-19 variant ever identified.

Hundreds of people who have recently returned from South Africa, where the B.1.1.529 variant was detected, are expected to be tracked down and offered tests in an effort to avoid the introduction of the new strain, which it is feared to be more transmissible and has the potential to evade immunity.

Whitehall sources said the variant posed “a potentially significant threat to the vaccine programme which we have to protect at all costs”.
 
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brad465

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The Guardian is reporting South Africa is going back on the red list due to the new Covid variant discovered there:


The BBC are reporting this will be several southern African countries, but is still breaking news so full list not confirmed here:


Travellers arriving from several southern African countries will have to quarantine amid warnings over a new Covid variant.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said from 12:00 GMT on Friday six countries would be added to the red list, with flights being temporarily banned.
 

Darandio

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We've often been critical in the past about them not being pro-active on things like this and setting deadlines a few days down the line. Is this the quickest they've implemented such a restriction?
 

brad465

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We've often been critical in the past about them not being pro-active on things like this and setting deadlines a few days down the line. Is this the quickest they've implemented such a restriction?
Quite possibly, but at the same time I don't think there's much to lose with this move: apart from South Africa perhaps, travel numbers between southern African countries and here is relatively low, and I suspect the Government have no vested interests in keeping travel open to this particular region, unlike India in the spring, which was somewhere Johnson wanted to visit to progress trade talks earlier this year, for example.
 

Watershed

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Here we go again...

It is futile to try and beat nature by insulating ourselves from the outside world.

If this variant is significantly more transmissible, it will simply accelerate Covid's transition to becoming an endemic disease.

Even if one accepted that a containment strategy was the right answer, imprisoning people - at their own substantial cost - for exercising their right to travel is fundamentally wrong and I can scarcely think of any circumstances that would justify it.

There is no other western country - apart from Australia and NZ which have their own loony ideas about Covid - which still has such a system. That should serve as somewhat of a clue...

The red list must, at the very least, be revised to involve home quarantine. If there are concerns about intra-household spread then I think people would accept the proviso being that everyone in the household must agree to self-isolate if anyone is to quarantine there.
 

ld0595

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Dammed if they do and dammed if they don't.

Whilst it will be impossible to keep a more transmissible variant out the country in the long run, I don't really have an issue putting the countries of concern on the red list to buy us a few extra days to further analyse it. I'm happy to see quick and decisive action for once, especially given the variant was only discovered very recently.

I also don't agree with revising the red list to home quarantine. I recall there were several articles floating round a few months back saying that the vast majority of people didn't follow it. Again, I'd rather we take harder action now to stay on the safe side. The last thing any of us want is to end up back at square one.
 

Watershed

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Whilst it will be impossible to keep a more transmissible variant out the country in the long run, I don't really have an issue putting the countries of concern on the red list to buy us a few extra days to further analyse it.
What benefit will having a few extra days to think about it serve? Full evidence as to the transmissibility, CFR etc. will not be available for some weeks or months.

I'm happy to see quick and decisive action for once, especially given the variant was only discovered very recently.
It's certainly quick and decisive but that doesn't make it right.

I also don't agree with revising the red list to home quarantine. I recall there were several articles floating round a few months back saying that the vast majority of people didn't follow it.
Then how about enforcing it properly? There is a massive difference between forcing someone to stay at a hotel at a massive, inflated cost and just letting them go home and get on with it. Again, no other sensible western country does this. Perhaps that should tip us off that we're the ones who have got it wrong, not them...

Again, I'd rather we take harder action now to stay on the safe side.
"On the safe side" means reintroducing restrictions at the first sign of trouble, i.e. like Australia and NZ. It is no way to live life.

We need to live with Covid, not try and futilely fight it. That means accepting there will be infections, there will be variants and there will be deaths. The sooner we accept that unfortunate reality, the sooner we can get back to normality.

The last thing any of us want is to end up back at square one.
Just as with lockdowns, it is postponing the inevitable.

If this variant is much more transmissible, it will make its way here no matter what pathetic measures we try and put into place. For all we know it might already be seeded here. What will we do if that is the case? Lock everyone down again? What is the end game...?
 

Cdd89

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Whilst it will be impossible to keep a more transmissible variant out the country in the long run
It’s odd that you acknowledge this fact, and then proceed to defend the indefensible.

What about those who went to SA in good faith, and who are now absolutely screwed?


I don't think there's much to lose with this move: apart from South Africa perhaps, travel numbers between southern African countries and here is relatively low
I agree the direct impact may be low, but this will have a chilling effect on travel. Now the government has shown it’s willing to slam the doors shut with no notice, in the form of costly hotel quarantine, why would anyone who couldn’t bear that risk (i.e. most people) take the risk of going abroad?
 
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Chris125

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Here we go again...

It is futile to try and beat nature by insulating ourselves from the outside world.

If this variant is significantly more transmissible, it will simply accelerate Covid's transition to becoming an endemic disease.

If that was the issue I'd agree, but vaccine escape is as much a worry as transmission with this variant - it's mutated so far and diverged so significantly from the original strain that their effectiveness could be compromised. To what extent will take time to figure out so while we should hope for the best it's wise to be cautious.
 
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Richard Scott

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If that was the issue I'd agree, but vaccine escape is as much a worry as transmission with this variant - it's mutated so far and diverged so significantly from the original strain that their effectiveness could be compromised. To what extent will take time to figure out so while we should hope for the best it's wise to be cautious.
Vaccine escape is highly unlikely, just scaremongering again. As for mutating significantly from original strain that effectiveness is compromised, not buying that either; where is this information coming from? Media, no doubt?
 

Cdd89

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what extent will take time to figure out so while we should hope for the best it's wise to be cautious.
So let’s assume (hopefully incorrectly!) that the worst happens, and these actions delay the wave by a few weeks. What exactly do we do with this extra time?

I’d like to hear the rationale behind the potential benefit to this caution, because I can point to some pretty concrete harm it has caused.
 

danm14

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I also don't agree with revising the red list to home quarantine. I recall there were several articles floating round a few months back saying that the vast majority of people didn't follow it. Again, I'd rather we take harder action now to stay on the safe side. The last thing any of us want is to end up back at square one.
If the red list were revised to home quarantine it may actually be more effective at keeping the supposedly more dangerous variant out.

At present, a person travelling from a red list country has two choices, assuming they are not willing to break the law.
  1. Spend £2,285 to be imprisoned in a sub-standard hotel room for ten days, while aware that there have been widespread reports of sexual harassment in the facilities
  2. Take an eleven day holiday in the Republic of Ireland (specifically Ireland as it is the only country which the UK will never impose restrictions on travel from, so it can't go red), during which you are not required to quarantine and can freely mingle with others who can travel to the UK without restriction regardless of vaccination status.
I know which one I'd pick - but I'd be far less tempted if the first option was quarantining at home, even if everyone else in the household had to quarantine and so I had to rent an Airbnb or stay in a (non-quarantine) hotel.
 

AlterEgo

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If the red list were revised to home quarantine it may actually be more effective at keeping the supposedly more dangerous variant out.

At present, a person travelling from a red list country has two choices, assuming they are not willing to break the law.
  1. Spend £2,285 to be imprisoned in a sub-standard hotel room for ten days, while aware that there have been widespread reports of sexual harassment in the facilities
  2. Take an eleven day holiday in the Republic of Ireland (specifically Ireland as it is the only country which the UK will never impose restrictions on travel from, so it can't go red), during which you are not required to quarantine and can freely mingle with others who can travel to the UK without restriction regardless of vaccination status.
I know which one I'd pick - but I'd be far less tempted if the first option was quarantining at home, even if everyone else in the household had to quarantine and so I had to rent an Airbnb or stay in a (non-quarantine) hotel.
Or 3) go to Ireland and then travel over land to Northern Ireland and then to England, as many people I know have done (!)
 

danm14

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Or 3) go to Ireland and then travel over land to Northern Ireland and then to England, as many people I know have done (!)
Covered by "assuming they are not willing to break the law" - although I'd argue that the presence of undetectable and unclosable loopholes and the ban on direct flights are indirectly encouraging people to.
 

island

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At present, a person travelling from a red list country has two choices, assuming they are not willing to break the law.
  1. Spend £2,285 to be imprisoned in a sub-standard hotel room for ten days, while aware that there have been widespread reports of sexual harassment in the facilities
  2. Take an eleven day holiday in the Republic of Ireland (specifically Ireland as it is the only country which the UK will never impose restrictions on travel from, so it can't go red), during which you are not required to quarantine and can freely mingle with others who can travel to the UK without restriction regardless of vaccination status.
Ireland is looking to revive its red list, so that might no longer apply – vaccinated red-list arrivals in Ireland get to do self-isolation rather than hotel quarantine though.
 

nickw1

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I do think the government need to understand that most people cannot afford £2,285. If they want people to hotel quarantine to be on the safe side, that's one thing - but the government (which I realise means the taxpayer) should fund it. They really are living in some kind of alternate reality if they think the average person can afford that sort of money. But I suppose that is politicians for you, most of whom have lived a privileged life and have never, and probably will never, have any worries about money.
 

Cdd89

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I do think the government need to understand that most people cannot afford £2,285
Oh, they do.

I get the impression many people think the third country “loophole” is an accident. But it is absolutely by design.

Makes perfect sense too, if highly selfish. Hotel quarantine is just for those with no other options.
 

Peterthegreat

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I do think the government need to understand that most people cannot afford £2,285. If they want people to hotel quarantine to be on the safe side, that's one thing - but the government (which I realise means the taxpayer) should fund it. They really are living in some kind of alternate reality if they think the average person can afford that sort of money. But I suppose that is politicians for you, most of whom have lived a privileged life and have never, and probably will never, have any worries about money.
Totally agree.
 

Watershed

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I do think the government need to understand that most people cannot afford £2,285. If they want people to hotel quarantine to be on the safe side, that's one thing - but the government (which I realise means the taxpayer) should fund it. They really are living in some kind of alternate reality if they think the average person can afford that sort of money. But I suppose that is politicians for you, most of whom have lived a privileged life and have never, and probably will never, have any worries about money.
The extortionate cost is quite intentional.

They would rather you outsource the risk to another country, and spend 10 days there, than to dare to use your right to enter Britain.
 

Chris125

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So let’s assume (hopefully incorrectly!) that the worst happens, and these actions delay the wave by a few weeks. What exactly do we do with this extra time?

Christmas!

I’d like to hear the rationale behind the potential benefit to this caution, because I can point to some pretty concrete harm it has caused.

More time means more vaccinations - third/booster doses have proved *so* powerful I'd like to think they'll still be effective even against this, and a 'few weeks' of several hundred thousand doses a day means millions more are much better protected - perhaps the vax rate could be accelerated even further in an emergency.
 
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brad465

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The new variant has now been discovered in a case in Belgium, announced alongside the EU recommending flight bans to southern African countries. Given the alarm was raised yesterday/this week, and it's already in Belgium, I think it's safe to say travel bans can never be implemented quick enough, i.e. particular virus strains have enough time to transmit "undercover" for any action to work. This is of course if the variant does take off like Delta, but not like several others which didn't.


EU nations should impose an emergency flight ban on countries where a new coronavirus variant has been found, the European Commission has said, as Belgium confirmed a case.
The variant, currently known as B.1.1.529, has also been identified in South Africa, Botswana, Hong Kong and Israel.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is meeting to discuss the development.
Scientists say they still have much to learn about the virus's new mutations.
The WHO has said it will take a few weeks to understand the impact of the new variant, as experts work to determine how transmissible it is.
The variant is yet to be given a more memorable name, like Delta or Beta. The WHO is expected to name it on Friday, and announce whether it is a variant of concern or just a variant of interest.
It is very different to the other variants that have emerged so far. Scientists have said it is the most heavily mutated version yet, which means Covid vaccines, which were designed using the original strain from Wuhan, may not be as effective.

Stock markets across the world fall sharply on Friday, amid investor fears over the potential economic impact.
In London, the FTSE 100 share index dropped by nearly 3%, while markets in Germany and France also declined following falls in Asia.
 

RailExplorer

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This new travel ban (and the re-introduction of the red list) actually gives me a chance to laugh at those that got vaccinated to travel. Anyone stuck in South Africa (plus the other Southern African countries) who have supported lockdowns and vaccine Passports deserve the £2k hotel bill - and the stress of being stuck. Perhaps one day they will realise this isn't about a virus.

Then there's the news from the EU that a third dose will be required 9 months after the second dose to travel to the EU. It really does go show that no number of vaccinations will ever be enough to satisfy the government (and it's scientific advisors).
 

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