Fintan O’Toole: Brexit and Ireland’s sleepy response to Indian Covid variant are linked

Ireland blindly followed Boris Johnson but failed to notice the game he was playing

UK prime minister Boris Johnson. Photograph: Matt Dunham/Pool/AFP via Getty

UK prime minister Boris Johnson. Photograph: Matt Dunham/Pool/AFP via Getty

Everything is connected. This is both the great joy of the world and its great terror. And it seems right now that two of the things that are intimately and alarmingly connected are Brexit and Ireland’s sleepy response to the threat of the Indian coronavirus variant.

If anything is going to reverse the progress we have made in fighting the pandemic, it is the spread of variants that have had such a devastating impact on India. If you look at graphs of the proportion of the dominant Indian variant (called B.1.617.2) found in tests taken in European countries, the picture is starkly clear. By far the largest incidence is in the UK. And out on its own in second place is Ireland.

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