OPINION - Evening Standard Comment: From hotel quarantine to schools, we must be better prepared on Covid

Asia's Tech News Daily

(Christian Adams)

With Covid cases rising, the return of the travel red list and arguments about allegedly illegal Christmas parties, you’d be forgiven for thinking it is 2020 all over again.

Take hotel quarantining. Hundreds of Brits have found themselves stranded around the world as a consequence of a lack of quarantine hotels for those returning from countries on the red list. Those “lucky” enough to get a room have described the experience as “awful” and some are having to call on family to bring them food.

Of course, there is one large difference between this year and last — vaccines. But the jabs are not an excuse to fail to prepare for a difficult winter or a potentially more transmissible variant.

The Government still gives the impression more often than not of being on the back foot. It announced a requirement for day two tests for travellers more than a week ago but is only from tomorrow introducing mandatory and expensive pre-departure tests.

It brought back hotel quarantining but didn’t have the capacity. And in announcing that all secondary school pupils must take one Covid test on-site as they return after the holidays, it has left school leaders just days to order test kits, with some being forced to move the dates of mock GCSE exams in January.

Vaccines remain our best tool in this pandemic, and we urge everyone to come forward for their booster shot, or for their first dose. Yet we cannot rely on vaccines alone.

We need to be creative, adaptable and above all prepared for all eventualities as we head deeper into winter and learn more about the Omicron variant.

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