Dan Wootton: Preposterous Pingdemic madness as Prime Minister 'locked up' on Freedom Day

Armed Forces believe app could put national security at risk because 5,200 military staff members are off work isolating.

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It’s the ironic situation that sums up the preposterous handling of this pandemic.

Just hours from so-called Freedom Day – a moment that was meant to mark the return of English civil liberties and our former lives – the Prime Minister and Chancellor are locked up, just about to start a pointless ten days in isolation, despite neither of them having Covid-19.

It’s a direct consequence of the pingdemic now damning British businesses already decimated by 15 months of lockdowns.

Of course, it wasn’t the instinct of Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak to follow the rules.

Initially we were told they were going to launch a pilot scheme that allowed them to be tested each morning and then continue working.

Now that's a scheme that you or I can’t use, but Michael Gove already did after a football jolly to Portugal.

After just two hours and 38 minutes of increasing public outrage, there was a total U-turn.

But the initial decision is indicative of the government’s do as I say not as I do approach to their guidance.

Well, we’re fed up with it.

Especially given the data does not make this solution at all sensible. An Oxford University study, for example, shows 15 out of 16 people ordered to stay at home have no trace of the virus.

And that’s a growing number of people, given 530,126 self-isolation alerts were sent in the week to July 7— a 46 percent rise on the previous week.

Stop the madness.

The Armed Forces believes the app could put national security at risk because 5,200 military staff members are off work isolating.

Stop the madness.

One in four junior doctors have been ordered to isolate.

Stop the madness.

London’s entire metropolitan tube line was shut this weekend and passengers on Northern trains were warned not to travel between Sheffield and York due to too many staff isolating.

Stop the madness.

The former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith put it best today when he said:

“We’re hours from Freedom Day which has been heralded as the final step towards a normal life. Yet we are like a prisoner who has had their cell door unlocked but is afraid to venture out in case a guard shoots him.”

There’s an easy solution to this.

Axe the failed Matt Hancock’s useless app and test and trace regime.

Or introduce the August 16 rules immediately.

That means anyone who has had two jabs doesn’t need to isolate.

Or likewise if they’ve had one dose of the vaccine and tested negative.

But a plea from me to ignore former PM Tony Blair who is in the Sunday papers trying to influence the government again with a smorgasbord of proposals that include vaccinating the over 12s and compulsory vaccine passports.

The sad thing is that a vacuum in leadership means Blair’s so-called innovations are getting far too much attention from officials.

But when it comes to widespread vaccination of our kids, that’s not going to happen, for now at least.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination has, according to The Sunday Telegraph, advised ministers against rolling out the vaccine to children.

Only those aged between 12 and 15 who are considered vulnerable will be offered the jab until further evidence is available on the risks.

A small dose of sanity from officialdom.

The pathetic flip flop decision to introduce special new travel rules for France could be the death knell for this year’s summer holiday season and the already devastated travel industry.

How on earth can anyone book a holiday with even the slightest dose of confidence with a government so intent on causing constant chaos at the last minute?

Even the fully vaccinated will need to isolate at home for ten days on return from France – despite it being on the amber list.

As International Air Transport Association boss Willie Wash said: “The UK is entrenching itself as an outlier in its confused approach to travel. This, in turn, is destroying its own travel sector and the thousands of jobs that rely on it.”

The government is making the rules up as they go along and thumbing their nose at anyone who complains.

The so-called amber plus list had never been mentioned before until it was applied to France.

Well let me tell you, getting away is for many folk at this point essential, whether to see family and friends, or for mental health reasons.

And the vast majority of us simply cannot afford to take ten days off work to isolate at home.

TV presenter and campaigner Kirstie Allsopp tweeted at the weekend:

“I am starting to reach the horrible conclusion that the only way to address some of this idiocy is with mass civil disobedience. If every vaccinated person returning from France simply refuses to quarantine what can they actually do? #realquestion #seriousdebateneeded”

Where Kirstie is definitely right is that this is in our hands.

If the public starts standing up against these catastrophic last-minute decisions, the government will be forced to listen.

Prince Charles and Camilla have provided an unexpected beacon of sense in the midst of the latest Covid madness.

Last week Camilla shared the feelings of many as she dared to admit she “can’t wait to get rid” of awful face masks.

And now Prince Charles is expected to ditch his mask unless government regulations insist he stay muzzled.

The first test will be during a visit to Exeter Cathedral tomorrow where the Mail on Sunday reports he is not planning to cover his face.

That will be a great message from the future king to the rest of the population that the time has come for all of us to embrace normality…before we forget what that’s even like.

And by the way, if you’re planning to go to one of the nightclubs at midnight finally being allowed to open properly after 16 months then I salute you!