What is the Government’s threshold for quarantine?
When it comes to imposing quarantine on arrivals from other countries, the UK’s has for weeks had a clear – if entirely arbitrary – threshold. If a nation crosses the barrier of 20 new infections per 100,000 people during the preceding week it will find itself on the naughty step. Spain, France, Belgium, Austria, and many others, hit the mark and were immediately blacklisted.
But a rise in cases in Britain, driven in no small part by increased testing, has now seen our own seven-day rate leap to 31.6. So what now?
It seems that an extra degree of leniency has been adopted. Denmark, for example, was tipped for inclusion on the quarantine list last week after its case rate comfortably hurdled the 20 barrier (it has now reached 34.8), but the UK permitted it a stay of execution. Similarly, green-listed Slovenia has reached 26 per 100,000 but no action has been taken.
So what is the new threshold? Basic logic would dictate that quarantine measures are pointless if a country has a lower infection rate than ours, so perhaps the threshold should now be the UK’s own seven-day figure (currently 32.1).
This would mean Denmark is the only country seriously at risk of being added to the naughty step this week, while holidays to the likes of Italy and Greece (those recently ostracized Greek islands excluded) look very safe. But nothing, of course, is certain.