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Labour's policy on Covid has always been in the pockets of the attention seeking SNP and crass.

Crass as in seeking to incarcerate all travellers in quarantine hotels.

Crass as in pursuing a 15-year long policy of having set the NHS on a course of reducing hospitals beds (the civil service finds it intellectually difficult to change course once a policy has been in place any length of time, especially in health) and continuing to pursue it as manifesto policy into opposition through general elections under Ed Miliband and others (because it believes it 'owns the NHS anyway' and no one will notice) and never properly abandoned during Covid.

It would appear it is now to be revived under the New Labour moniker 'reform' at Labour's September conference.

Like all bad things, head it off fast. The one thing Covid taught is that there were too few hospital beds.




In the first half of 2020 the Department of Health and Social Care issued a plethora of regulatory instructions to and about care homes. This did not head off the worst institutional death toll since army losses in WW2.

In July 2020 I happened to wander by a care home in another jurisdiction.

Outside was a simple notice: The management requires that all visits to the residents take place in the gardens. No other regulations other than for the separation of trade visitors. No meetings in plastic bubbles or banning touching or limiting the number of visitors.

This was before the DHSC acknowledged that it was safer outdoors or that aerosol transmission needed to be taken seriously or vaccines existed.

The Covid death toll in that municipality through that summer? Nil.

Commonsense or bumbling departmental control freakery?

Don't leave Britain or you'll bring home the virus was the constant refrain of other people who got a lot wrong by relying on sanitised data and projections rather than on real world observation and deduction (as the South African medics, with lesser resources, have had to do subsequently in December 2021, getting much right.)

In 2021 we had travellers arrive at airports with the NHS branded app trying to prove that they had been vaccinated but unable to do so because the supporting servers were unavailable on the internet. So some missed their flights.

Is the DHSC seriously expecting travellers to unquestioningly take the NHS app abroad so that when they open it at a foreign airport a government also finds a way to later read their medical records? Mynamar or somewhere? So the paper record is the more secure.

This is where the 2022 illogicalities start. From the 7 January 2022, a month late, it sounds like a paper record showing three vaccinations, including the booster, will be available but the barcode will only be valid for 30 days.

Why 30 days?

Is the DHSC trying to push people to have the NHS app despite its downsides? Out of control freakery? Is it expecting everyone to stay abroad no more that 30 days? To break their university terms on the Continent every 28 days so that they can get an updated document? Why a barcode not the international de facto standard of a QR code as well?

With the Omicron variant, vaccination currently does not prevent you getting it (though it reduces the chances) so a Covid pass on an app proves little except, perhaps, that you are less likely to be a heavy burden on a healthcare system.

Given a way of proving your vaccination record does not mean you are not carrying the disease or could pass it on, there is no difference between a barcode validity of 30 days or 180 days or 270 days. Fortunately, you can re-enter the U.K. whatever the validity but these illogicalities further undermine the U.K. travel industry.

Whilst Omicron is the dominant variant, and provided it supplants the more dangerous variants, incumbents going to elections would do well to dismantle Covid pass regulations in advance of polls.