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  • Writer's pictureJack Martindale

The sick joke of our COVID travel restrictions!

Updated: Aug 11, 2021

The way in which I have always voted and managed the vision of the world that I’d aspire to see, is one in which the most vulnerable are prioritised and always protected the most. We have now reached a world where travel is now far from a bourgeois luxury, but something that is needed to maintain the relationships that we have for other people and holds a key to our freedom.

It is not that I see any reason not to make sacrifices to protect people. As with so many other features of society, a stark contradiction is the brunt of my gripe. This is in terms of the credible understanding that COVID will persist and that nobody is free of it until we all are. Yet somehow, it’s deemed feasible to curtail our passport to the world on the basis of encoding categories of countries into ‘green’, ‘amber’ and ‘red’ in terms of where is feasible for us to visit.

Still, given that we’re in the midst – I should hope towards the tail-end; more fool me perhaps… – of a pandemic and it is then inevitable that extra preventative and precautionary steps will need to be made. It is the lack of clarity or consistency towards the measures that I find so challenging. No matter to what extent everybody seems to have become obsessed with being an expert on everything through social media these days, we need some clear-cut simplicity to travel from the Government. People should either be allowed to or outright banned from visiting different countries, as opposed to being stipulated by such an array of conditions.

From personal experience, I have particular concern with how we are placed under the mercy of disconnected bodies in the private sector for granting us the ability to travel. Of course as is the way in the business world, the brunt of any issue is always going to be passed down the line.

In beginning of last month, I visited Antigua. I know your hearts bleed. But this went far beyond an extravagant holiday, as me and my American girlfriend Sarah found ourselves involuntarily thrust apart at the beginning of March 2020 due to COVID-19. The amount of memorable tales from this wondrous jaunt that I should have to tell aside, the crux of the issue here is that my departure from Gatwick had to be delayed by a couple of days due to the PCR COVID test that I had taken not delivering my result without the all too confidently assured time.

The fact that I had been double vaccinated since March and possessed no symptoms was of absolutely no relevance. No, I had to pay for an express test to be taken at the airport. Indeed there was bitter irony to be had in the fact that I had 2 negative results by the next morning! These things happen and I can easily forgive the odd error of judgement. It is the protocol itself that is of stupidity beyond measure. Any COVID test can only ever see a snapshot of your state; who’s to say that you’re not to get infected on your way home or at a store selling essential items due to a passer by having risen above wearing a mask and coughing or sneezing upon you? There seems far too much out of your control for it to ever be just or feasible to place you under direct responsibility.

We are all forced with placing our trust in independently selected service providers. What is represented is the most brutal form of ridiculous capitalism in the way in which the entire Corona testing system works. It is made clear that no responsibility can be taken from anybody other than ourselves in the test we choose (but don’t really have any choice) , that we are forced to select entirely off of our own backs. Then we succumb to be inadvertently having to take something of a gamble upon whoever we select.

Never having been a gambling man – the odd flutter on the Grand National cast aside – we are forced to surrender to the crudest marketization of things and what’s worst, is that this is all guised under the name of being benevolent. It’s disgusting that so many bodies have been able to profit under the pretense of enabling us all to put others first. What's worse is, that we are forced into buying this fallacy..

For what it’s worth, I would insist that we have a singular nationalised system responsible for offering people a license to travel in a way that can be subsidised; in a method akin to a prescription. It should then be simpler, clearer and more trustworthy. Now, we are simply surrendering substantial sums of money in providers that we’ve got no real way of holding to account; If they fail to deliver, we should be the only victim.

Of course – and this is the classic COVID trick – not so severe as the trials faced by such a substantial degree of the population that are so much worse off than ourselves. We can probably all from our own experiences recount the relativity of this, but that is beyond the pale and point.

My point is that in general I see us all as being placed in such a stressful positions by people trying to serve the need of making a profit and our society seems to increasingly cajole this as a justified means to an end. It is irresponsible, short-sighted and encourages a dependence in a way that can be seen as an antonym to anything at all holistic.

It was surely be far fairer to just say that anybody that has been vaccinated is free to explore the globe and anybody that has not yet been fully vaccinated, can still travel; they just have to pay for a subsidised PCR test for the privilege. I am a firm believer in vaccinations as being the fastest and most feasible way out of this mess and anything incentivising the population – young especially – to take this step, has to be the best and even only credible option to take

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