ong, long ago, in the early days of the first national lockdown, I watched two cyclists dismount and sit down on the grass in St James’s Park. They were socially distanced, their bikes laid beside them. They must have been resting for less than five minutes, when the not-so-friendly arm of the law – in the shape of two Metropolitan Police officers – approached and instructed them firmly, but politely, to get back on their bikes, which they did.
How much that has changed has been graphically illustrated in recent weeks. The most conspicuous stage of the unravelling came with an announcement about special dispensations for “high value” business travellers to the UK – clarified the next day as individuals prepared to invest £100m in this country or do a deal that creates or preserves 50 jobs – who would be exempt from self-isolation (quarantine) for undefined “short visits”.
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