The Handbook
The Handbook

Are you enjoying your back-to-normal life? Eating out? Planning a holiday? Wait up. This second-wave shizz looks like it might be about to get real, and we’re getting a little bit worried.

Last weekend Britain suspended Spain from its ‘safe list’, meaning that travellers to the country and islands will have to quarantine for 14 days on return. Now it looks like it might be the start of something…

Wait, I thought we’d defeated coronavirus?

Well, we’ve passed the peak (we think) and the government has had to reopen the economy or risk the whole country falling apart at the seams, but that’s not nearly the same as ‘defeating coronavirus’. At the peak we were seeing daily infections as high as nearly 9,000 a day, now it’s dwindled to between 500 and 700.

But that’s still pretty high, Chris Whitty (remember him?) used a rule-of-thumb that you get a very rough idea of the scale if you times the number of daily infections by around 10, though this may have changed and be higher as we learn more about asymptomatic transmission. Either way, you start to see that this certainly hasn’t gone away.

So what’s changed now?

Boris seems to be quietly freaking out. He apparently overruled Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and Transport Secretary (and Spanish tourist) Grant Shapps to not rule out the Spanish islands from last weekend’s quarantine guidance and now he’s gone on telly and warned that other countries are also in danger of being outlawed and that he’s very concerned that we’re about to experience a second wave ourselves.

Oh. That’s not cheery. Which other countries are going ‘on the list’?

Luxembourg, Belgium and Croatia are headed towards Britain’s COVID naughty step, and even Germany’s head of public health yesterday said he was ‘very concerned’ by the rising levels of infection.

And what’s going on here?

More local outbreaks seem to be going on, with Oldham added to the list of grim Northern towns experiencing problems (along with Blackburn, Darwen, Bradford and Leicester). Local restrictions have been implemented, but we’ll see if it’s containable. Meanwhile track-and-trace doesn’t seem to be quite under control and where’s that bloody app?

The death rate seems to continue to be low (we recorded just 7 on Monday, albeit with the caveat that everyone knows Monday’s results are basically wrong) and hospitalisations are also low, but there has been a notable uptick in infections which might not be simply explained by more testing.

What does this mean for me?

The much derided ‘Stay Alert, Control The Virus, Save Lives’ slogan is potentially (and finally) actually quite helpful, we need to stay alert. Which means not taking the Mikey, wearing masks and so on. Oh, and not going to illegal raves.

And what about my holiday to Provence?

Hmmmmm. Throughout the crisis Britain appears to have lagged behind Europe by a week or two. So if Europe flares up, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to expect that so will Britain. So the question might not be ‘will France be on the list?’ but ‘will Britain be on France’s?’


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