In days gone by, it was not a rare occurrence to avoid visiting an elderly relative when suffering from flu or even a heavy cold. All generations were aware of the risks it posed to the elderly and took steps to minimise it.
It looks horribly like the government want to take that decision out of the hands of individuals and ban university students from returning home at Christmas. Students, 1,000’s of whom have been confined to their rooms for two weeks at a time after outbreaks of Covid-19, face missing the seasonal visit to see their families altogether.
Following the return of the universities, there have been over 500 cases recorded and government scientific advisor, Sir Mark Walport, has previously indicated that students in halls may have to remain in their rooms when term ends, thus preventing them taking an infection to older relatives.
Whilst no one wants to put parents and grandparents at risk, the Libertarian Party argues that is should be down to the families themselves to assess risk. They are the ones who know the health of each person, whether they have any pre-existing conditions or not, and even whether they are planning to meet over the holiday period. It is not for any government to apply a “one-size-fits-all” ruling.
Should the same rule cover students with grandparents that have retired to sunnier climes, the same as those with an elderly relative occupying a room in the family home? Of course not.
University students have already had a very bad deal. They are being charged the same tuition fees, but in many cases are receiving only online lectures. Effectively, they need never have left home at all, yet thousands are paying for on-campus accommodation, thereby needlessly adding to their future debts.
The Department of Education announced “We will continue monitoring the situation very closely and follow Public Health England advice” – hardly reassuring advice considering the Health Secretary has ordered its demise due to persistent failure.
The Libertarian Party says we must allow our young people to enjoy this vital stage of their formative years. They – and their families – should be the ones who make their own decisions on whether to travel or not, not some bureaucrat, seemingly detached from all reality.
Martin Day – Party Secretary