DAILY MAIL COMMENT: Swab shortfall can’t bring Britain to a halt


With pathetic opportunism, Labour hopped off the fence last night to brand the Covid test shortages a ‘shambles’.

Of course, the party has had plenty of opportunities to explain how it would handle the pandemic… and has cravenly ducked every single one.

No one denies Boris Johnson has blundered during this nightmare. But compare today’s situation with a year ago, when England was trapped in almost total lockdown, and he deserves a pat on the back.

Yes, the chronic scarcity of tests is a problem of the Government’s own making. Only, though, because the PM has desperately tried to let us live our lives.

DAILY MAIL COMMENT: Swab shortfall can’t bring Britain to a halt

As a result of Boris Johnson scuppering recent lockdowns, there has been unprecedented demand for Covid swabs

Instead of scuppering Christmas and New Year with lockdown measures (as, to intense fury, the socialist regimes in Scotland and Wales have), he has trusted the public to behave responsibly.

As a result, there has been unprecedented demand for swabs. That is a mark of success in itself. However, ministers must tackle the test shortages urgently.

That is a core plank of protecting the nation and keeping it running. In upbeat remarks, Mr Johnson said Omicron was ‘obviously milder’ than previous variants.

Almost a third of patients with Covid in hospital are ‘incidental’ admissions, having tested positive after checking in for other reasons (still, the failure to publish such vital data more often is unforgivable).

And the vast majority in intensive care haven’t had boosters – proof jabs work.

But if nearly a million self-isolating people cannot get swabs, they can’t leave house arrest after seven days. Shops, hospitals, schools, supply chains and trains are already at risk of grinding to a juddering halt in so-called Pingdemic Mk II. The lack of tests will turn a crisis into a disaster.

To ease any staff shortages, the Prime Minister must also cut quarantine to five days. Confining the healthy to their homes needlessly will hamper the economy and society – and our attempts to rebuild this Covid-battered country.

Loyalty should pay

For years, the Mail has campaigned to end the contemptible practice of insurance companies ripping off loyal customers.

With breathtaking cynicism, these firms have automatically whacked up premiums for long-standing policyholders so they can offer discounted deals to new ones.

This penalises clients who don’t shop around for better deals elsewhere – invariably the elderly and vulnerable.

So the Mail is proud to have scored a walloping victory for exploited consumers.

From Saturday, insurers will be banned from charging existing customers more than newcomers, saving them £4.2billion over ten years. At a time when living costs are rising steeply, this is excellent news.

However, companies must not push up all premiums to protect their bottom lines.

This paper has long kept a watchful eye on insurers’ shady tactics. Rest assured, we won’t stop now.

Terrorist parole peril

The possibility that almost 100 terrorists could be released by the Parole Board next year is of the gravest concern.

This, after all, is the same body that incomprehensibly freed double child killer Colin Pitchfork – before he was hauled back to jail amid fears he is still a danger.

That suggests there is something worryingly wrong with the way the secretive board reaches conclusions. Assessing the terrorists, then, requires extreme caution. What a jihadist might do if wrongly let out doesn’t bear thinking about.

Meanwhile, as public safety hangs in the balance, judges have been told to use gender-neutral language to make courtrooms more ‘inclusive’.

We knew our justice system was soft. Has it finally lost its marbles?



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