Zante / Zakynthos

Oh, Greece, where did it all go wrong? Some left-wing Greek Guardian columnist blocked me on Twitter in the spring because I questioned his tub-thumping glee that Greece was weathering the storm so well. I doubted it then and I was right to doubt it.

With an economy that depends on lager-swilling British teenaged idiots, the only way Greece could have a good pandemic was to open its shores and bars this summer. That strategy has now exploded. TUI has cancelled all flights to one terror resort in particular. It was their plane that had to be disinfected after arriving in Cardiff full of corona-positive maskless covidiots. Glasgow has a spike, and now so does leafy Buckinghamshire. Remember those ads? We put the U between twat and idiot.

It was never going to work. People criticised the UK government for starting the quarantine in the first place when the UK had higher cases than most of the countries on the quarantine list. Although hard to defend when explained like that, the quarantine was a good idea implemented too slowly. The right time to do it was February half-term when the Alp-dwellers on skis imported the disease from Italy and France and not from the Wuhan bat market as originally feared.

At that point, Britain had lower cases than anywhere in Europe and hindsight suggests a quarantine would have done wonders for our coping strategy. By the time quarantine was switched on, we were behind all countries in Europe. But there was surely half an eye on the autumn, when the odds of a mild resurgence were high. Quarantine was ridiculed in July but in September it looks good.

Now we have the weekly routine pedalled in the press which runs like this: country added to “green” list. People madly book holidays and tell all their friends, full of glee. Friends shrug and start lobbying for the country to be added to the “red” list. People arrive in holiday to news that cases are spiking and spend the holiday booking emergency flights home at ten times the original cost. Inevitably, some miss out. Country is added to “red” list around midnight on a Thursday. Mass exodus. Journalists hover around Heathrow on Saturday morning to sweep up the few who missed the cut and splurge onto the Sunday front pages. Anyone booking a holiday in such circumstances must be borderline insane, so they pretend to be outraged at having to cut their sunshine short. Repeat weekly until October. October 2021.

And that, friends, is your summer. It didn’t have to be like this. You could have supported the UK economy and done your vacation here.