Is the ‘O’ word over yet?

Blogmas Day 20.

That is a genuine(ish) question.

Spoiler Alert – we made it to Anguilla. Two flights; heart in the mouth moments at check in; a mildly terrifying boat ride from St Maarten to Anguilla (I’m sure the Captain thought he was in the latest Bond movie by the way he was bombing across the waves) and a 11th hour (more like 12th, actually) approval from the Government to enter the country and we arrived on Anguillian soil.

One hurdle remained. When we stepped off the boat at the the port, we were given wrist bands – yellow if fully vaccinated, red if partially or not vaccinated. We handed over our immigration forms and then had to immediately be tested. A government approved vehicle had to take us to our temporary residence and we could only leave and remove our wristbands when we’d received an email from the Ministry of Health confirming our test result was negative. If the result was positive we’d have to quarantine for 10 days and only be released upon a negative test result on day 10. By then, we’d be just about getting ready to return to the UK.

Needless to say, despite all evidence to support that we should be alright given that we’d been tested 48 hours ago and had followed protocols meticulously ever since (I’ve never worn a mask so long continuously before – 20 hours! surgeons and medical staff, I salute you) we were bricking it for the next 24 hours.

A watched email never pings, or some such saying. Was it an overreaction to have a little wristband cutting ceremony when we finally received the email? Quite possibly, but it felt damn good.

Freedom faces.

It’s just like Nazi Germany… right?

Just before leaving the UK, there were debates in the House of Commons and a vote regarding Covid-19 Passports being used for entry to large venues like nightclubs, concerts and football stadiums. I’m not here to argue about what standpoint is right but what I took huge objection to was MPs stating that a move to do this was akin to Nazi Germany. The thin edge of the wedge, so to speak.

MPs said that. Out loud. Publicly. Proudly. With their whole chest. What a ridiculous insult to holocaust victims. Comparing a measure to protect public health – whether you agree with it or not – to a discriminatory atrocity against a whole people group to make a political point is appalling.

I wonder what said MPs would make of the measures Anguilla have taken to protect the public health of their nation. Draconian? It’s difficult to compare Anguilla to the UK. Both are islands but the UK has a population of approximately 68 million and Anguilla has around 15 thousand.

At the time of writing, Anguilla has had 1,592 cases of Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic with 4 deaths. Percentage wise, the levels of infection in the UK and Anguilla are not that dissimilar but the number of Covid-19 related deaths by percentage are higher in the UK (0.2% compared to 0.02% for Anguilla).

I don’t blame Anguilla doing everything they deem necessary to protect their population but at the same time, making visitors feel welcome. We had the best reception despite all the health requirements. The assumption that tightening restrictions in the UK – wearisome as that is – is an attack against civil liberties (let’s not use the N-word again, eh?) is, in my opinion, flawed.

Was it all worth it?

Make no mistake, travelling internationally through a global pandemic – especially with a new variant – has been complicated, stressful and expensive. Only now that we’ve successfully reached our destination and are reunited as a family, it was totally worth it.

As my sister said when we bit the bullet and booked the trip, “Life’s too short”. In the last 24 hours we’ve had tragic news of the sudden passing of a loved one which proves the point that tomorrow is not promised and to grab those special moments wherever and whenever we can.

Worth it.

As for Omicron, I won’t talk about it again on my blog. I, along with the world I imagine, am sick to the back teeth of hearing about it.

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