Toby Young

On July 25, the French government changed the rules on testing三级成人视频. Hitherto, the only way to avoid paying for a standard PCR test, in which your nose and throat are swabbed, was to get a prescription from your doctor.

But after the rule change, anyone could get a test free of charge. Not surprisingly, the number of people getting tested jumped – more than 600,000 people in the past week – and case numbers duly increased.

三级成人视频We’ve seen exactly the same pattern in parts of the UK: community testing increases and there’s a corresponding rise in recorded infections.

三级成人视频A half-way competent government would look at the testing data and contextualise it. You don’t need a degree in maths to compare the rise in the number of cases with the rise in the number of tests. Is the percentage in both cases the same? If so, you probably don’t have much to worry about.

三级成人视频Unfortunately, the geniuses at the head of our Government seem unable to do this. Instead, they apparently look at the raw case data and fly into a blind panic.

According to ministerial statements, at least, that appears to be what’s behind the last-minute decision to remove France from the “Green List” of countries you’re allowed to visit without having to quarantine on return.

三级成人视频There’s precious little evidence that France is currently in the midst of a “second wave”. On the contrary, if you look at Covid-19 hospitalisations, the number has remained largely stable for the past month.

Another example of this failure to contextualise the data was Boris Johnson’s decision to “squeeze the brake” on lockdown easing at the beginning of the month and impose local lockdowns on four-and-a-half million people in the North West. The reason for this, we were told, was because the number of infected people was on the rise again.

But Carl Heneghan, Oxford’s professor of evidence-based medicine, looked at the Pillar 2 data – based on testing in the community – and concluded that the rise was due to a combination of increased testing and false positives. “Inaccuracies in the data and poor interpretation will often lead to errors in decisions about imposing restrictions, particularly if these decisions are done in haste and the interpretation does not account for fluctuations in the rates of testing,” he wrote.

Not only do the Government’s decisions to impose new restrictions seem to be based on an inability to do basic maths, they’re inconsistent. Why has France been removed from the “Green List”三级成人视频, but not Gibraltar, where the rate of infections is higher? And why hasn’t Portugal been added, given that there were only 325 new cases in Portugal on Thursday compared to more than 500 in Italy?

Another example: in recent weeks, the percentage of the population testing positive has been higher in London than in any other English region. Yet while Leicester, Manchester, Preston, Bradford and Oldham have all had to suffer second lockdowns, London has not.

You might think there’s some economic logic behind this – after all, London is responsible for 22 per cent of the UK’s GDP. But the Government hasn’t paid much attention to such considerations before. When Michael Gove told a meeting of Cobra that a decision had been made to place the entire country under virtual house arrest on March 23, Jesse Norman was reportedly the only person present to ask whether a cost-benefit analysis of a full lockdown had been done. His question was met with blank, uncomprehending looks.

Was any thought given to the economic impact of adding France to the growing list of “no-go” areas? There are hundreds of thousands of UK nationals currently on holiday in France. How many of them will be forced to take time off work if they have to self-isolate for two weeks? France is the most popular holiday destination for Brits after Spain. With both countries now on the quarantine list, what will be the effect on the airline industry?

三级成人视频Such crazy, knee-jerk responses to undigested infection data suggest the Government is wildly over-estimating the risk posed by Covid-19. According to the ONS, flu and pneumonia killed five times more people than coronavirus last month and if you’re under 65 you’re more likely to die in a road traffic accident. In Germany, more than twice as many people died from seasonal influenza in 2017-18 than have died of Covid-19.

At the beginning of this crisis, those of us who believed the Government was over-reacting were in a tiny minority. But as its decision-making loses all touch with reality, and the economic impact of the restrictions becomes clear, that number is growing. Once it climbs above a certain threshold, it will be impossible for the authorities to enforce their ridiculous, arbitrary rules.

三级成人视频How many of the thousands of Britons returning from France will tell the officials insisting they quarantine to take a running jump? How many “spot checks” can be realistically conducted? We’ve been treated like lobotomised sheep for long enough. It’s time to take back control.