Tom Harwood: Government intervention to halt arrivals from southern Africa may have just saved Christmas

Tom Harwood
Tom Harwood

Being tough on arrivals from southern Africa is a no-brainer - border closures work

Published

Now it would be remiss of me to not spend a moment on yesterday's concerning news coming out of Southern Africa.

A Coronavirus variant with 50 mutations has been discovered in South Africa and Botswana, along with one case in Hong Kong directly linked to travel with South Africa.

Concerningly there are 30 mutations on the so called spike protein of the virus - the bit most vaccines latch on to in order to work, and how the virus makes it into our cells.Now it could be that our vaccines are still very effective against this variant, but they also may not.

The concern is that we simply don't know if this virus can escape our vaccines. And for once, the UK government has acted quickly.

Being tough on arrivals from Southern Africa is an absolute no-brainer. Border closures work. They massively reduce the seeding of new variants. They buy us vital time. They allow us to continue living normal lives within our country.

If this is the real deal, we have bought vital time to update our vaccines...Now, hopefully this new variant is not going to escape our immunity, hopefully everything will be okay, and these border measures will not have been necessary - but what a low cost, high reward precaution to take if things are not so rosy.

There's a chance - a small chance perhaps but a chance - that this intervention might just have saved Christmas.