Another government announcement and we are once again back to the times of last summer when things were chopping and changing rapidly with little to no evidence. But a press conference instead of just a tweet.
Being in government in a pandemic is a job no one would actively choose and our government has had to make many decisions with limited information and little time, often having to choose the least worst option.
After consulting with the industry on a restart, we were given dates for announcements which were repeatedly missed before the first set of traffic lights commenced on 17 May. Now only three weeks later, it is proposed that Portugal will be moved from Green to Amber, but their data has barely changed. And other destinations whose metrics are all in a good place look as if they will remain on the Amber list. I have sympathy for the government on many things, but this is the last straw. Talking up the data but then decisions being taken which the data doesn’t support, and trying to make the public believe that variants only appear in foreign countries is frankly insulting.
The testing requirements to enter Portugal and then return to the UK require 3 separate tests – all of which need to be negative. Surely that is sufficient. A virus replicates and mutates – these mutations can happen anywhere, in the UK or abroad. The vaccination programme is an incredible success and take up rates phenomenal. Hospitalisations from Covid are dropping and those most vulnerable to severe Covid are increasingly double vaccinated.
I know the government has many things to think about and travel & tourism might not be top of their list, but it is our livelihoods and a source of great pleasure for many. Either stick to the principles of using the data or change your approach – this latest announcement simply makes a mockery of the true principles of science.
Sonia Davies, CEO