Roar writer Manya Sareen argues that Tier 2 restrictions in London have been implemented ineffectively and with hypocrisy.
Previously classified as a Tier 1 coronavirus risk level, London and the bordering county, Essex, moved into Tier 2 level restrictions on Saturday. These restrictions ban mixing between different households in homes, bars and restaurants. The “rule of six”, though, continues to apply outdoors.
Even though it was the government who prioritised the opening of schools and universities, students continue to be blamed for the UK’s second wave of COVID-19.
Under new advice, given by the London Mayor Sadiq Khan, residents are being “discouraged from using public transport”. If working-class people and students were to fully act on this advice, they would be unable to go to their workplaces and classes conveniently. With a surge in cases from the second wave, what is the sense in keeping them open and “discouraging” citizens from using public transport to access them? Is the government simply being hypocritical?
Additionally, some countries have recently been added to the list wherein individuals travelling from them have to mandatorily self-isolate for 14 days. One of these is Italy, which has also been experiencing a second wave of COVID-19. But, as of October 16, Italy has reported 10,000 cases daily, which is roughly half that of the UK.
The containment measures enforced by the Italian government are also much stricter than that of the UK, an example being their rule to wear face masks in busy outdoor spaces. In the UK, wearing face masks outdoors is not mandatory, regardless of how crowded the street might be.
Italy has also recently issued mandatory testing for those arriving from the Netherlands, Belgium, Czech Republic and the UK. The UK, on the other hand, is continuing its enforcement of the mandatory 14-day quarantine.
Despite Italy having stricter containment measures and significantly fewer cases, the UK has issued a quarantine for all those entering from Italy and the Vatican City. Some other countries, like Trinidad and Tobago, continue to be part of the mandatory quarantine list despite having fewer than 50 reported daily cases.
Furthermore, the implementation of mandatory quarantine in residence halls seems questionable. While someone who has just entered the country is completing their self-isolation, everyone they have come into contact with within the residence can attend classes, go to pubs and restaurants. They are, therefore, still potentially putting a large number of people at risk.
In short, while the stricter policies intended by Tier 2 restrictions were definitely required in London, the sad reality is that current regulations and their implementation are lined with hypocrisy. Perhaps, as Mayor Khan suggested, action needs to be taken on a national level. Or, perhaps there needs to be improved implementation of the current regulations because, at the moment, the Tier 2 level restrictions make little sense.