A ‘merciful’ virus: The alarm bells over the spread of Omicron in India should at least be muted in the wake of the European experience with this variant. This week Britain will stop requiring tests to be sent to a lab, and will begin to restrict kits for self-tests. The period of isolation for those in touch with this virus is likely to be cut to five days. A fourth booster jab has been ruled out for now. All these are now official indications that there is little to worry about over Omicron.
Sniffing it out: The British are finally learning what Indian homes have known for centuries. That you can tell by looking at milk and by sniffing it whether it is good or has gone bad. Supermarkets in Britain have been sticking ‘use by’ labels on cartons that have been designed to encourage sales but this means that millions of litres of good milk go down the drain. Now the Morrisons supermarket chain is using more normal recommendations on dates and is encouraging consumers to smell the milk before throwing it away.
Unsafe asylum: Too many try to cross illegally into Britain every year, carrying illusions that this is a land of milk and honey, and of Scotch whisky and pound sterling. The reality now uncovered in a BBC investigation is indicative of the real truth. The roofs of several asylum centres are falling in, letting in both rain and bitter cold. Managing asylum centres have been contracted out to a number of private companies, and few care to see how they run these. At one of them, a falling roof injured a child. Not what those below came to Britain for.
Security tax: This is a new tax in Britain that few will complain of. It is the Protect Duty that people will expect to pay to make public venues better protected against acts of terrorism. This is, of course, easier said than done. The most secure places are not foolproof against acts of terror. And there is a limit to what can be done at common public places without incurring astronomical costs.
Hameed’s true test: Everyone is increasingly nervous about a place for Indian-origin England opener Hameed for the fifth Test. England have not been great in this Ashes series, and only just about managed to avoid the prospect of a whitewash. But dismal as England have been, every batsman other than former fellow opener Rory Burns has scored at some time or other. The only hope for Hammed for the final Test may be that the selectors may not easily find anyone to replace him.