As cases surge, we must learn from past mistakes | Letters

Instead of waiting to see which countries experience a surge in coronavirus cases, I would hope that the government is actively looking into the reasons why. Among the factors being blamed for Spain’s spike are “a rush out of lockdown, opening the borders, patchy compliance with physical distancing, and inadequate contact tracing”, with outbreaks emerging from bars and clubs, and seasonal fruit and vegetable pickers (Why are travellers to the UK from Spain being asked to quarantine?, 28 July). With the exception of reopening nightclubs, it appears we are making the same mistakes as our Spanish neighbours. Right at the start of the pandemic we ignored the lessons of other countries, with devastating consequences. Let’s not do so again.
Giselle Green

• You report that scientists are “concerned” and “anxious” that a surge in Covid-19 infections in the coming winter months could be exacerbated by “normal winter illnesses” (Covid-19 new cases and deaths will remain high for weeks, warn UK health leaders, 29 July). I wonder if they have taken into account that the measures taken to control Covid-19, such as social distancing, hand washing and use of face masks, should be equally effective at reducing the spread of winter coughs, colds and flu, which hopefully may result in a less cataclysmic winter than they are forecasting.
Phil Coughlin
Houghton-le-Spring, Tyne and Wear

• Why Britain, unlike New Zealand, isn’t using its insular advantage to protect the nation against Covid-19 is a wonder to many. In dire circumstances such as we are in, some sectors of the economy have to take a hit for the greater good (If Britain ditches overseas holidays, we can eliminate coronavirus, 29 July).

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Having just returned to the UK from a six-month stay in New Zealand, where I had cause to make use of the reciprocal healthcare arrangements, I can confirm that life is back to normal because of the elimination of community transmission of the virus and stringent border controls. I found their health services first class and now unaffected by Covid-19, except for treatment of some border control returners.
Geoff Naylor
Winchester, Hampshire

• I have just returned from a short visit to family in Switzerland. I flew out of Manchester with Swiss, and on board was given a form to complete asking for flight number, seat number and contact details for the next 14 days. On the return leg, I had to transit in Paris. On the Zurich-Paris leg I had a similar form to complete for the French health authorities. On the Paris-Manchester flight – nothing. If the UK government is so worried about returning Brits bringing Covid-19 with them, why not find out who they sat next to on the plane so our “world-beating” track-and-trace system can alert them?
Heather Massie
Bury, Greater Manchester

• I was very surprised that on boarding an easyJet flight from Gatwick to Milan Malpensa on Monday there were no thermoscanner temperature checks as passengers boarded. Passengers have to sign a form declaring that they have no symptoms of the virus, but there is no check that their body temperature is below 37.5C. It is strange that, everywhere in Italy, when entering a shop, restaurant or public office, we have our temperature checked but we can board a very crowded aircraft without any check. The airline claims to be ensuring the best safety for its passengers but this oversight is a shocking omission.
David Wilkinson
Laveno-Mombello, Italy

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