Joined-up decision-making please.

By | Category: Travel rumblings

In the UK and many other countries, social distancing has become the norm.

what is social distancing? 1 metre? 1.5? 2?

What is confusing is the distance that we are supposed to leave between one person and another.

In the UK, for example, it is suggested that a distance of 2 metres or six feet should be the norm. In Greece it is 1-1.5 metres and in Austria just one.

Can we be safe just a metre away from one person in Greece yet would that be dangerous in the UK?

Just about every government claims that that they are acting on the “best” scientific advice yet it is plainly obvious that scientific advice varies so who does one believe?

At a time when the EU could have made a difference by co-ordinating response it has shown no leadership and been content to let individual countries go their own way.

The differences in scientific advice has substantial implications for the travel and tourism industry because a metre distancing as opposed to two might allow double the number of people to travel on a bus, a coach on a train or in a plane. More would be able to queue in an airport and shops would be able to admit more shoppers. Adopting a one metre rule would have economic benefits for workplaces as well. Provided that that was considered a safe distance

But which scientific advice is the more accurate for the protection of people so they are less likely to catch the virus?  

I cannot say because I have little scientific knowledge and none, medically. My concern is that conflicting advice in different countries causes confusion and makes people query the value of that scientific advice.

The arguments over wearing face masks continue but the consensus is that it protects other people if you wear a mask. But there is confusion on how long a mask will be effective before you need to replace it with a fresh one. Is it an hour, two, four or shorter or longer? That becomes important for travellers and holidaymakers on longer journeys

It looks as though it will be standard to have a temperature taken on entry to an airport or flight but if it is desirable there why not on a train when you also sit in an enclosed tube for possibly hours on end? And if you have your temperature taken, is that a useful monitor for an hour, or two or ten? When should you next check?

What should be the capacity of a plane or train, bus or coach? Initially thinking was about carrying only a third of people, now some say 50%. At 30% capacity, some big hotel chains would be at breakeven. Smaller hotels wouldn’t be anywhere near it. With low-cost airlines, there is probably a higher breakeven level than on traditional airlines. But what is a safe figure? Safe for passengers and staff?

Achieving uniformity around the world would help dispel a growing view that scientific advisors are no more confident about some of their judgements than the rest of us are.

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