Delaying quarantine measures at the border was a ‘serious mistake’ that allowed 10,000 infected people into the UK accelerated the virus spread, a major report by MPs says.
The cross-party inquiry is highly critical of the Government’s ‘inexplicable’ decision to lift its initial quarantine measures in mid-March, ten days before lockdown.
Experts from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine calculated that up to 10,000 infected people, largely from Spain, France and Italy, imported the virus into the UK.
It concluded many more Britons were infected in the 12 weeks after that decision before compulsory self-isolation was re-introduced for international passengers on June 8.
However, it stopped short of saying lives had been lost as a result.
The home affairs select committee report, published today, says: ‘The decision to lift all Covid-19 related guidance for international arrivals on March 13, just as other countries were expanding their border measures, is inexplicable. …
MPs asked the Government nine times for scientific evidence behind the decision to end travel restrictions – but nothing was provided. …
Committee chairman Yvette Cooper added: ‘The Government’s failure to have proper quarantine measures in place in March as the infection was spreading fast was a grave error and meant Covid spread faster and reached more people. The UK was almost unique in having no border checks or quarantine arrangements at that time. …
The other country that didn’t close it’s border properly while locking down was the USA. But the USA’s media and bureaucracy is dominated by open-border fanatics. The US President, who was elected on a mandate of “build the wall”, has not been permitted to close the southern border in either peacetime or pandemic.
The lockdowns in the US and UK were notably ineffective, unlike everywhere else in the developed world. Eventually the UK closed its borders, and has now mostly eliminated covid as its lockdown then became effective. Meanwhile, the US is sicker than ever.
The report goes on: ‘Evidence shows it is highly likely uncontrolled importations of the virus from European countries contributed to the rapid increase in the spread in mid-March. The failure to properly consider stricter requirements on those arriving was a serious error.‘ …
The report concludes that border measures will have to remain in place for ‘some time to come’.
The report also stops short of saying that the pain of the early lockdown was mostly wasted, because the borders were still open. Bit too painful to admit that, yet.
This blog has been pointing out for months that the US and UK lockdowns were ineffective and mostly wasted because they did not effectively close their borders. Nice to be vindicated by a UK report, but it’s a shame that the world didn’t pay more attention to us. The point is obvious, yet was not made publicly anywhere else I’ve seen until now.
This blog also recommended the closing of borders by mid February. It was obvious by then what was coming, and the cheapest course by far would be to accept the cost of border closure immediately. If that had been done, most of the pain would simply have been avoided. Too bad the world didn’t pay attention to us then, either. (Yes, that’s two I-told-you-so’s in a row.)
The story of the West’s response to covid has consistently been one of tardiness. Our dimwitted and overpaid bureaucrats were outwitted by a simple, predictable virus at every turn. Too slow to see the danger, too slow to close the borders, too slow to realize that the herd immunity path was not inevitable and that crushing the curve was probably cheaper, and too slow to apply lockdown properly. The western leadership class have caused a great deal of avoidable health and economic damage by their tardiness.
Let’s leave aside the train wreck that is the US for now, except to note that it has the added problem of a corrupt, leftist media/bureaucratic/academic complex that wants ongoing damage as part of its attempt to regain power in November.
A reader comments:
The failure to quarantine overseas arrivals for three months is called ‘inexplicable’. It’s so obviously something that should have been done, however, that it’s not credible to say no-one thought about it. Nor is it credible to say that the government thought about it and just, by mistake as it were, failed to realise it was an essential part of any control strategy. We have to conclude that they thought about and made a conscious decision to do what they did. That is, it was on purpose.