How many deaths in Scotland has the UK Government’s delay on air travel arrivals caused?

The Herald on 19th April

From sam:

On the subject of incoming flights we know from Taiwan that airports and planes are significant points of transmission.

So why did the UK government not suspend travel into the UK?

“Based on these factors and our experience, Chen is correct in asserting that this coronavirus can be found in the cabins of many airplanes, and therefore people should avoid flying. However, not enough emphasis is being placed on the roles of international airports in spreading COVID-19, due to the numerous passengers and many aircraft arriving for maintenance.From a statistical point of view, the probability of physically encountering the novel coronavirus or of being exposed to infected individuals in large international airports or in the cabins of airplanes is much higher than in homes, workplaces, schools or other public spaces.”

There is also this from the abstract of a study. It is a pre-print, the study is yet to be peer reviewed.

“Conclusion: International travel was directly associated with the mortality slope and thus potentially the spread of COVID-19. Stopping international travel, particularly from affected areas, may be the most effective strategy to control COVID outbreak and prevent related deaths.” by youReply

It isn’t as if there were no warnings about the dangers of transmission posed by travellers.

24 January: The WHO advises screening, interviews and contact tracing in “affected areas” – by this time most of Europe.

27 January: updated WHO guidance stresses the importance of screening international travellers.

11 February: The WHO emphasises again that ‘containment’ requires checking airport staff and strict quarantine measures.

26 February: Health Secretary Matt Hancock promises ‘extended measures’ at airports. They never materialise.

29 February: The WHO specifically criticises the lack of airport checks to contain COVID-19.

Professor Van-Tam rightly pointed out that, in the early weeks of February when the virus was seemingly confined to China, passengers from Hubei were quarantined on arrival in the UK. But, as the health tsunami spread and swept inexorably towards Britain, no action was taken to stem the flow of travellers from other badly infected countries or to check if they had symptoms.

Incredibly, as the global crisis worsened, Britain went it alone – as far as I can tell –among the nations of the world by keeping its borders completely open and imposing almost no compulsory (or even random) health checks on passengers arriving in the country.”

4 thoughts on “How many deaths in Scotland has the UK Government’s delay on air travel arrivals caused?”

  1. The contrast between UK policy on border control (remember the ‘taking back control of our borders’ Brexit!) and that of New Zealand could not be more stark.

    “The New Zealand border has been closed to almost all travellers from 23:59 New Zealand Time on Thursday 19 March 2020. The travel ban applies to all arrivals into New Zealand whether it is by air or sea. This includes superyachts arriving in New Zealand.”

    But even that was considered insufficient:

    “The (NZ) Government announced stricter isolation measures for ALL passengers (including New Zealand citizens and residents) departing after 23:59 New Zealand Time on Thursday 9 April 2020.

    People will no longer be able to complete their 14-day isolation period at home. Arrivals assessed as high-risk of COVID-19 will be placed in quarantine facilities, while all other arrivals will be placed in managed isolation facilities.” (my emphasis)

    Australia was also quick and strict over the management of it borders, taking decisive action on 20 March 2020.

    But clearly none of this is as important as what happened or didi not happen after a Nike conference in Edinburgh!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The last line of my post was missing –

    As you say “Britain went it alone … by keeping its borders completely open” and that sums the whole thing up. The Scottish Government could not impose its own strategy or timescale in the face of this crisis. I feel that only independence can offer Scotland that level of control.


  3. Yes the fact that the UK cases are barely dropping compared to other European countries needs thinking explaining.
    Deaths are dropping so it seem reasonable to assume we have a source of new cases, a very leaky ship. The public seems to have been, in general, conscientiously following the rules. The open airports are the most obvious source of the leak.

    Liked by 1 person

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