Following the easing of Covid-19 polices in China, which was quickly followed by a spike in cases, several countries — including the US, Japan, Italy, Spain, France and, most recently, the UK — have reacted by reintroducing restrictions for passengers from China, requiring them to show a negative PCR or antigen test before boarding. The fact that Western countries are still resorting to such tried-and-failed policies as pre-departure testing — which had no effect on the global spread of previous variants from several countries — is a staggering indictment of just how little they’ve learnt from past failures. Indeed, the uselessness of such policies is now so clear that it’s hard to shake the impression that the decision is a purely political one. Part of the explanation is that politicians, by peddling a pro-lockdown narrative for the past three years, have now created an artificial demand for restrictive measures among their fear-stricken constituents, some of whom are now even making the case for wearing masks forever or for the permanent institutionalisation of what Giorgio Agamben might call “bare life”. Even more worryingly, it appears to indicate that Western governments have little intention of giving up the powers they’ve claimed under the guise of “fighting the virus”. You can read the rest of the article, which I’ve co-authored with Toby Green, in UnHerd.

%d bloggers like this: