Wednesday, February 10


 A PCR type of test costs about £150. If I go to visit Olga in Ukraine as things stand at the moment I will have to purchase a test before I can fly back and then two more during my period of quarantine on my return. The pre-flight test is, presumably, to ensure that I don't have the virus and so will not be bringing it back to the UK. So I am not entirely sure I know why I need another test two days later. It is highly unlikely that I will have picked anything up on the way back but I suppose there are several places where that could be possible - the bus from Zhytomyr to the airport, people I've been near at the shops or in the street or travelling to get the result during the day or two since getting the pre-flight test. So the next test I have to have on arrival would reveal that but after then I am in quarantine and not in circulation so the third test does seem a bit over the top. The extra costs in Ukraine already more than double the bill for the visit when my tickets are normally only around £50 but the further £300 hits hard.

The press and all the talk at the moment is about people who just want to have a holiday or escape to the sun. There was a distinctly envious tone in many conversations I overheard on this subject when, just before lockdown, some people were in a Tier that permitted travel abroad. I was not flying for a 'holiday'. I was visiting my wife in a grey and damn cold town in Ukraine. Yes, I enjoyed my stay but I would have much preferred to have brought Olga here if it had been possible. Until she gets a visa then I need to be the one who does the travelling. I think it is a pretty normal and acceptable thing to do; visit a loved one. 

OK, so there are people in the UK at the moment who cannot be close to their close family members. The difference is they can see them, get within two metres and, in many senses of the word if not quite all, meet them and see how they are getting on, talk, laugh and communicate easily. I have been vaccinated so I won't catch anything from my wife and she is content to take the chance that she won't catch anything from me. People here can also have 'bubbles' and many I know use this to get closer than two metres so I don't think I am doing anything particularly bad or irresponsible. It's just the 'flying' thing that seems to bother people.

Things were not helped when we saw pictures of some people called 'influencers' enjoying the sun and expensive surroundings of hotels in Dubai, one of the countries that had accepted quite willingly people from UK (until very recently) and these people were able to use the excuse of 'business' to travel even if they came from a Tier 4 area or even after lockdown were able to travel legally. These 'influencers' are mostly attractive young girls who promote make-up or clothing products through video blogs and, although I am sure they really do not need to make the videos from holiday resorts, they probably do produce a better look than a semi detached suburban garden in Surrey in February. As is often the case, though, a very small number of people can make a big splash and papers like The Sun and jealous journalists were able to wind up Mr & Mrs Disgusted in Tonbridge Wells. Business travel is permitted and if people can get away with that as an excuse, good luck to them. They are not hurting me and, as they tend to stay where they are and not return in a hurry, they are not likely to either. The trip will be expensive for them and, should they come back soon, they'll need to do the same quarantine and have the same tests as me so I cannot complain about them, other than wishing that they'd not hit the headlines as that inevitably had an influence that the 'influencers' had not intended!

Now I'm locked down. I can't fly anyway. I did think about making it a business trip but I would need to make that genuine and, being in quarantine for 14 days, that's not easy! So, whilst there is a contact there in the die-cast model business that I could be going to see, I'm not inclined to do that. If this lockdown carries on for too long, though, I may reconsider that. As it stands I am going nowhere. 

I wonder why we need to have all these restrictions together. Lockdown, travel bans, quarantine, testing. It's overkill. The talk now is that travel restrictions could remain until not only all of the UK has been vaccinated but the rest of the world too. All we need then is that, just as the last jab goes in someone's arm in Greenland, a new strain appears and worries the hell out of ministers again and we're back where we started while we wait for the recipe to be adapted on the vaccines.

All this is going to carry on for some time, I feel. So my request is that some exceptions are made for people like me so that I can take a flight to visit my wife. And I do think they can cut back on the quarantine - or the tests - one of the two. If we're still in lockdown I don't need to be isolated as well and certainly don't need two further tests. By the time lockdown gets lifted if I did have anything it will have gone or made itself obvious. If we're not in lockdown but still otherwise banned from travelling abroad then put me back in isolation if you must but I really don't need those two tests as well.

There comes a time when we will have to accept that, vaccinated, we are extremely unlikely to be seriously affected by the virus and so should be permitted to get on with life as normal. And 'normal' means visiting those we love. 

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