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COVID-19: Government “Opaque” Green, Amber, Red List Decisions Do Not Match Data | UK News

How does the government determine which countries are on the red, amber, and green lists that determine which countries British should and should not visit?

Given the controversy over Britain’s decision to put Pakistan and Bangladesh on the “Red List” on April 2, the issue is more than academically meaningful (thus allowing travelers from these countries to go to government. Quarantine at hotels approved by the government and non-citizens are banned) or residence), but to delay India’s listing for another two and a half weeks.

That decision is important, as thousands of travelers from India arrived in the UK during that period- Includes a specific rush of three and a half days before the decision to redlist India is announced And it is implemented.

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The travel list is divided into green, amber and red countries

Many of those travelers weren’t just suffering, as we now know. COVID-19 (New Coronavirus Infection) However, from the B.1.617.2 (India) variant, which is currently considered to be more contagious than the variants currently in the United Kingdom.

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It is now known that there are multiple cases of this subspecies in different parts of the country.

Recent data that have become dominant strains in Bolton, Blackburn and Darwen and the surrounding area suggest that it appears to be spread elsewhere and that a significant proportion has been detected in Bedford. I am.

The Chief Medical Officer believes that this variant will soon become the predominant variant in the country.

It would be an exaggeration to say that this would never have happened if India had not been added to the Red List sooner. It is very likely that this variant eventually spread to the United Kingdom.

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However, there is no doubt that its arrival may have been delayed. The UK has detected significantly more instances of the three Indian variants than any other country in Europe.

In other words, this was not inevitable.

It is also premature to say whether this causes further cases and death of COVID-19.

The number of cases in the UK is still very small. Immunization programs are progressing faster and in more coverage than most other countries in the world. And vaccination itself seems to be effective against this variant.

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So there is a reason to have hope.

Still, the rate at which variants settle in this country is believed to be due, at least in part, to the fateful decision to put India’s neighbors on the Red List and leave India on the Amber list during the critical period of April. I will be. ..

The status of the amber list forces travelers to perform self-quarantine and coronavirus testing, but by definition it is more porous and more reliable than the Red List hotel system.

It brings us back to that question: how does the government decide which countries are in and which are out?

The official answer will be explained later, but first consider what Health Minister Matt Hancock said today when asked about this at the House of Commons.

“The truth is that when we redlisted Pakistan, and when we actually made it to Bangladesh, the positive rate of people arriving from Pakistan and Bangladesh was three times higher than that from India.

Matt Hancock cites serious penalties for violating rules regarding entry into the UK
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Matt Hancock announces serious penalties for breach of rules regarding entry into the UK

“That’s why we made those decisions … It’s all very good to ask hindsight questions, but you have to make decisions and policies based on the evidence at the time.”

This is useful in several ways. First, it makes it fairly clear that the decisions, right or wrong, are not based on variants, but on the prevalence of COVID-19 in these countries.

Except for this, it’s weird.

Because Press release The decision was made due to the proportion of variants from these countries, as we told us at the time.

Nothing is said about the percentage of people who test positive. Anyway, let’s take a quick look at it and move on to the data.

The second useful thing about this statement is that Hancock provided data (or hints) on which notes could be compared.

And it happens that the NHS has released a dataset showing the average positive rate (that is, what Hancock mentions) and the number of mutants of concern or interest raised by travelers to the UK. did.

This dataset is very important. This is because, as we all now know, COVID data in some countries is not particularly reliable.

Here is a dataset that probably contains all the travelers coming from those countries and you can see how much COVID-19 they are bringing to the country.

It tells a completely different story than what he mentioned in the Commons, except for the dataset that seems to make up the “evidence of the time” that Hancock mentioned.

Between March 25 and April 7, about 5.1% of passengers coming from India to the United Kingdom were COVID-19 positive, well below the 6.2% level recorded by passengers from Pakistan, above 3.7. Also shows that it is comfortable and expensive. Percentage of passengers coming from Bangladesh.

Ed Conway's analysis of how the government decides what's on the red, amber, and green travel lists

Keep in mind that this is the period of early April, two weeks before India is Red Listed.

And Pakistan’s COVID positive rate was slightly higher than India, far from three times that of India. The proportion of passengers from Bangladesh was significantly lower than the proportion of passengers from India.

It’s quite possible that Hancock is currently referencing another unpublished dataset. It is quite possible that he is referring to the data in early March.

However, keep in mind that we are talking about exactly the same time that the decision to put Pakistan and Bangladesh on the Red List was made.

We are talking about the data collected by the government itself.

And we are talking about a few weeks Before India is finally listed..

Strange and weird.

It should be said that the Ministry of Health (DHSC) was asked for an explanation, but there is no explanation at the time of writing.

Ed Conway's analysis of how the government decides what's on the red, amber, and green travel lists

But aside from the peculiarities of this case, it nevertheless emphasizes a broader point. There seems to be little clear evidence announced by the government as to why certain countries are on the Red List and others are not.

You can find a lot of broad discussions on the government website.by This page, “Dynamic Risk Assessment Method to Notify Minister’s Decisions on Countries on the Red, Amber, and Green Lists”.

Matt Hancock cites serious penalties for violating rules regarding entry into the UK
image:
Matt Hancock announces serious penalties for breach of rules regarding entry into the UK

Specific data points are considered, including test rate, incidence, test positive, evidence of an interest or variant of interest (such as an Indian variant).

The problem with this information is that it is hopelessly ambiguous.

For example, there are no details about what level of COVID-19 positivity pushes a country from one position to another. There is nothing about how concerned the variant is.

Also, where the following decision-making data is provided: This page, It is partial and not particularly enlightening. Not all countries are covered. Very few data points are provided. In short, it’s as clear as mud.

Also, as I can see, there is no easy way to reverse engineer an expression that links a decision to data.

Let’s return to the data set of COVID-19 cases of travelers coming to the UK from different countries.

For example, we can see that the average positive rate for travelers from Mali and Yemen from late March to early April was a whopping 20%.

Ed Conway's analysis of how the government decides what's on the red, amber, and green travel lists

In Libya, the average was 19%. In Cameroon it was 12.2%.

Currently, there are all sorts of questions raised by these numbers. In particular, according to official data from these countries, no country has a particularly high COVID-19 rate.

But the other thing that these countries have in common is that none of them are on the UK Red List.

They are all still listed in amber, like India before the ban.

Now, it’s true that there are no flights between them and the UK, but there are other countries that do not have direct flights to the UK, such as Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. That may be the explanation.

But it’s hard to say for sure because the government is so uncertain why it makes these decisions.

Consider another example: the Philippines. It was added to the Red List along with Bangladesh and Pakistan, but the explanation was (at least at that time) due to the number of variations of concern from there.

Ed Conway's analysis of how the government decides what's on the red, amber, and green travel lists

And if you dig into the dataset, it’s certainly supported by evidence. As of mid-April, the proportion of COVID-19 cases detected in travelers coming from them was very low compared to other countries, only 2%.

However, if you look at the percentage of positive cases that test positive for the mutant strain of concern or interest, you can see that it is 75%.

But if you want to list the Philippines, why not add Ghana as well? Ghana not only has a slightly higher positive rate (for example, a higher prevalence), but also a higher proportion of variants: 80%?

Why are UAE on the Red List even though travelers from the United Arab Emirates have lower COVID positive levels than most of Europe?

There are definitely answers to such questions, but the government does not provide most of them.

And, as Hancock did today, when they provide explanations, they sometimes don’t match the data available.

COVID-19: Government “Opaque” Green, Amber, Red List Decisions Do Not Match Data | UK News

Source COVID-19: Government “Opaque” Green, Amber, Red List Decisions Do Not Match Data | UK News

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