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The Idiocracy that is Britain: COVID or COVOID?

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I’m reflecting on COVID rules.

As a guy who lives in Europe, the rules are that I need to fill in passenger locator forms, get a pre-flight COVID test (fit to fly), and a landing form registered with a QR code. It’s challenging and clunky, but turns out to be actually quite easy and no stress.

Then there’s the UK.

The UK's rules are incredibly ridiculous. I’ve travelled here for a FinTech conference and first things first is that you, by law, have to self-isolate for 10 days. However, because I paid for an extra test-to-release test, I can get out of the house on day 5 (unless I’m from a red list country). Even so, I have to have tests on day 2 and day 8 by law. I need PCR tests and fit-to-fly tests, yet I’m also being asked to take lateral flow tests to access some events.

The whole thing confuses me. I feel like I’ve had a test almost every single day and yet still I’ve no idea if I’m OK. I’ve been jabbed and double-jabbed. I’ve hidden in my hovel of a study for a year and a half. I’m confused.

And yet I’m not so confused if I travel to America or around Europe. In those countries, you just need a QR code and a pre-flight COVID test. So why is the UK so confusing?

Because the UK is confused.

Most of my friends in Europe tell me: don’t bring back the Delta variant and then I ask: why has the UK such a bad outbreak of the Delta variant? Politics. Boris didn’t want to shut the borders until he did a deal with India.

Why is the UK asking for self-isolation for ten days when you can shorten it to five under test-to-release? Revenues. It starts to feel that the more tests the better it is for the treasury. It’s a new form of discrete taxation.

Why is it that the G7 can fly to Cornwall and have a barbeque? Revenues and politics. Deals need to be done and, meantime, it’s one rule for the parasites politicians and a different rule for everyone else.

Why does the UK demand testing on day two and day eight if you came from an amber country? No one knows.

Why does the UK demand testing on day two and day eight if you came from an amber country, and have been double-jabbed? No one knows.

Why is it that the UK have demands for numerous tests when Europe and America want just one?

Between the transport minister, the home office and the buffoon, it’s pretty much impossible to work out what to do, how to do it, comply with the rules and work out what to do to be a good citizen.

What really gets me here however is that I’m not an idiot, and yet the UK Government rules make me feel like an idiot. I’m paying £75 for a test that could have been done for free. I take a day 2 test that provides results on day 3, but the day 5 test-to-release test doesn’t respond. I’m asked to take a lateral flow test, and have no idea where to get one. It’s not PCR after all.

This means that, if I’m not an idiot, what about all the idiots out there who are idiots. How do they navigate this sandpit of rules that tell them they have to take tests here, there and everywhere, and yet have no idea where here, there and everywhere is?

As the shutters and blinds are gradually opened from lockdown and isolation, those of us who depend upon global connections are walking into an abyss of incompetence. The incompetence of those who run countries. Some are getting it right – I’ve been amazed how the USA has turned things around – and some are getting it massively wrong (you know who you are).

As a last little bit of mud to sling, I could travel today from anywhere in Europe to Malaga, Spain, hire a car, drive to Gibraltar and fly back to London with no checks and no questions. After all Gibraltar is British and has a green level of COVID checks (as in, none).

Go figure (as I’ve done that route too, so I do know).

The idiocrasy continues to amaze. It’s just a shame that it is an idiocrasy and not a proper government for the people and, if they run the idiocrasy this way, imagine how it feels if you’re a bank trying to tippy-toe through the quagmire of regulations.

From Bloomberg

The biggest vaccination drive in history is enabling parts of the globe to abolish mask mandates, relax restrictions and dismantle border curbs, making the magnitude of reopening key to quality of life. Taming cases and deaths was once paramount, along with ensuring a robust health-care system. Now, the ability to essentially turn back the clock and return to pre-pandemic times is taking on an even greater significance.

Central to that is an economy’s openness to the world, and that’s why we’ve introduced a new element—Reopening Progress—to Bloomberg’s Covid Resilience Ranking. Two new metrics capture the ease of moving in and out of a place and how much air travel has recovered, alongside our 10 other measures tracking mortality rates to infection counts, freedom of movement to economic growth.

This pivot has ushered in dramatic changes to the ranks. The U.S. is now No. 1, with its fast and expansive vaccine rollout.

And the UK demands amber and red isolations and tests for days. The UK is not on the right path.

Chris Skinner Author Avatar

Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog,, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...

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