Simon Calder’s message to leaders: ‘You can’t ban your way out of trouble’

Simon Calder’s message to leaders: ‘You can’t ban your way out of trouble’
Travel correspondent of The Independent calls for travel restrictions to be eased

As the Omicron variant of coronavirus causes record numbers of infections in many nations, the travel correspondent of The Independent has called for governments to ease international restrictions.

Writing his final newsletter of 2021, Simon Calder points out that France is recording two new cases of Covid-19 every second – yet “still pretends that the UK is the problem”.

Meanwhile, he writes: “Britain (one million positive tests in the past week) brought in a preposterously complex and expensive testing regime in a futile bid to keep Omicron at bay.

“Despite their manifest failures, the rules remain stubbornly in place on the obstacle course formerly known as travelling abroad.”

“Record infection rates abound around the nation and the globe. Even in Australia, which has kept its borders shut for the past 21 months, New South Wales is reporting over 60,000 active coronavirus cases while Victoria has almost 20,000.”

While he describes the figures as “horrible numbers”, he says they “prove the point of the World Health Organisation that you can’t ban your way out of trouble”.

Calder says: “Covid is a long-term hazard that has to be managed with mass vaccination and great care for the vulnerable.”

He speculates: “This latest variant will finally persuade the world and its politicians to accept that .

“Travel – or rather restricting it with arbitrary, headline-grabbing rules – can no longer be used as a political weapon to make leaders look as though they are doing something useful.

“The industry of human happiness that connects people, creates jobs and enhances lives is simply too important to lose.”

Calder holds out the prospect that in 2022 he will be able to resume his former role of “being on holiday pretending to work”.

On Thursday, Germany announced that it will remove its travel ban on fully vaccinated visitors from the UK and eight African nations at 11pm on Monday, British time.

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