15 July 2021, The Tablet

Freedom comes at a price

Government Covid messaging


The British government has resoundingly fallen between two stools in devising its policy after the end of the current Covid lockdown next Monday. In trying to please both sides of the debate – libertarian on the one hand, safety first on the other – all it has achieved is confusion, and possibly a nasty bruise to its reputation as the public realises it has been let down. The Prime Minister has announced that in England legal restrictions, for instance enforcing the wearing of masks in crowded public spaces, should be replaced by voluntary advice, leaving it up to every individual whether they comply or not. This is not going to work.

Cases of Covid are rising exponentially. This is because a sufficiently large part of the population have not yet received the double vaccination necessary for reliable protection, leaving them vulnerable to what is still a nasty disease if not quite the killer it was. The National Health Service is again under great strain, coping with the rising number of cases that need hospital treatment. Many non-Covid conditions are going untreated again. This is a bad time to be diagnosed with cancer or to need a hip replacement.

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