Everyone who is looking forward to further relaxation of restrictions could be in for a big shock, it seems, as the new Delta (Indian) variant of Covid is spreading rapidly and has caused the beginnings of a surge in cases nationwide – not just in Bolton.
It is beyond mind-boggling that Boris Johnson could have yet again made the same mistake of not controlling entry to the UK from places where the virus is widespread – this time from India. It was clear in March that there was a huge epidemic there, and on 1st April the UK knew that the new variant was arriving. But it was only on 23rd April that the Government put India on the red list.
In those 22 days, and indeed over the previous month, travellers were arriving in numbers from India and as a result the new variant started to spread in parts of the UK. Now it has become dominant in lots of places – not yet in East Devon, but it is in Teignbridge and Exeter, among others.
The surge is small at the moment but the current level of restrictions does not appear to be slowing it much. All this points to tightening, not lifting, as the Government’s next move. Moreover, if the vaccinations do not protect so fully against this variant, which has been suggested by experts, these decisions will have put the gains of the programme at risk.
People talk as though Johnson’s pandemic mistakes, which Dominic Cummings highlighted last week, were in the past. But they are still threatening our safety and our chances of resuming normal life.