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If we now want to eliminate COVID from the UK, why aren't we closing the border?

(9 Posts)
PicsInRed Mon 28-Sep-20 08:56:23

At the beginning, we were going to get it, develop herd immunity, and keep going. OK, fine. Then, we were going to lockdown to buy time and wait for a vaccine which would be on shelves in only a few months a bit optimistic, OK, fine.

But now we seem to want to eliminate the virus without an imminent vaccine, whilst the virus is in general circulation worldwide and with our borders wide open and tourism abroad almost actively encouraged.

Isn't the only answer to close the UK borders, in and out, for all but freight transport, one way travel out and quarantine returnees? Like NZ? To be clear, I think this would be extreme and I don't think border closure is the way to go for this virus, but if we are now on the elimination pathway, then locking down to eliminate closing the borders is essential.

So why aren't we doing that - along with lockdown - then at least the domestic economy could splutter to life again?

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secretllama Mon 28-Sep-20 09:01:40

Noone in government knows what they're doing, or what the plan is. You've to quarantine when arriving from countries on the list but can fly in from any of the other countries (which aren't covid free) and not quarantine? Riiiggghht.... hmm

Qasd Mon 28-Sep-20 09:02:55

We are not trying for elimination we are trying for suppression still, just it takes a lot more to suppress it than we thought it would!

MRex Mon 28-Sep-20 09:03:40

At the beginning, we were going to get it, develop herd immunity, and keep going. OK, fine.
We weren't, it was Vallance speaking loosely, even on the day he was telling people that wasn't what he meant.

Then, we were going to lockdown to buy time and wait for a vaccine which would be on shelves in only a few monthsa bit optimistic, OK, fine.
We weren't, we were locking down to reduce spread, protect the NHS from being overwhelmed and gain more control over PPE and testing.

But now we seem to want to eliminate the virus without an imminent vaccine, whilst the virus is in general circulation worldwide and with our borders wide open and tourism abroad almost actively encouraged.
We don't. The strategy is not elimination, it's to keep cases as low as possible.

As it happens, I think that to keep cases low the border restrictions should have been tighter through the summer and now. Not locking down, but more limited reasons for travel than "I like cheap Spanish hotels" and greater control over inbound passengers quarantining.

PlanDeRaccordement Mon 28-Sep-20 09:05:32

It’s too late to close the borders. The vast majority of Covid cases are due to local (within U.K.) transmission. Closing the borders will do nothing at this point.
Now if U.K. eliminates it down to a few pockets and Covid is raging like a wildfire outside the U.K., then it would make sense to close the borders.

Jrobhatch29 Mon 28-Sep-20 09:09:42

I dont understand how it would help atm when it is circulating freely here anyway?

Stinkyguineapig Mon 28-Sep-20 09:11:08

Cases are rising because people are back at work/school/uni/socialising (more indoors) , all of which has been encouraged at certain points.
I'm not sure how closing borders now will help as most transmission (I think) is in the community.

Also quarantine on entry here is based on trust, rather than enforced and monitored like in (some) other countries.

MissPoldark Mon 28-Sep-20 09:14:05

The end goal isn’t elimination.
Unfortunately the window of opportunity for stopping the spread by greater restriction on travel probably closed at the beginning of the year.

We’re not New Zealand. We can’t afford to close the border.

PicsInRed Mon 28-Sep-20 09:28:29

As it happens, I think that to keep cases low the border restrictions should have been tighter through the summer and now. Not locking down, but more limited reasons for travel than "I like cheap Spanish hotels" and greater control over inbound passengers quarantining.

Totally agree. If we were hoping to minimise cases, we needed to stop leisure and business travel. I believe we kept this going to prevent the travel industry going under, but in the words of Rishi Sunak, "we can't save every job" - and we shouldn't expect to save every industry.

If we are going for suppression, rather than elimination, I still don't see how minimal cases is achievable if we still have Malaga and ski jaunts operating at zero social distancing and then bringing it back to our pubs, workplaces and schools.

It feels like we're straddling the fence, with no strategy toward an end. In fact, our strategy feels like the series plot design of Lost.

Do we have a failure of leadership? Do we need a more decisive PM?

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