Covid-19 and Ferry Travel
The Isle of Wight is now part of the national lockdown. A month ago we were in Tier 1. What happened?
While it is true that the new strain of Covid-19 appears to spread much faster than the original version and that perhaps the young are more susceptible to it this does not explain how the Island has suddenly got so much worse at containing it compared to the rest of the country. The frankly insulting position of blaming Islanders for poor social distancing and risky behavior as some have said overlooks the fact that these are the same Islanders who maintained such a low rate of infection for so long.
If we want to find a culprit for the explosion of cases then we should perhaps look at where the new variant originated from. The fact that people were able to travel between their Tier 3 and 4 areas and our Tier 1 area was bound to spread the virus. Restricting travel is a basic in controlling infection as New Zealand has shown. It is also why Jersey, Guernsey, The Isle of Man, Wales and Scotland have restricted travel to and from England, not to mention France closing the Channel ports when the new strain emerged.
The Isle of Wight did not do this and the consequences are plain for all to see. Why did this not happen? Dave Stewart himself claimed that he didn’t have the power to regulate who came across the Solent and he is correct. Admitting failure though is no excuse. Knowing the situation and failing to act is worse than being clueless, it is reckless. To then try and blame Islanders as Dave has done is hypocritical and feckless and this problem has not gone away.
The Isle of Wight Council needs to urgently request from the Department for Health, the Home Office and the Prime Minister delegated powers so that they can control cross Solent travel and ensure the Islands safety. Anything else is a failure to protect residents.