Marks & spencer

Has Downing Street calculated the real cost of quarantine?

Doing the math, as the Americans say, became this column’s theme after I abandoned another planned trip to France. Seven days in the Dordogne (where last week’s Covid infection rate was just 2.9 cases per 100,000) would have cost me 14 days lockup on return, so I spent the weekend doing arithmetic instead. As I tried to calculate the real cost of what I have called ‘kneejerk quarantine rules driven by focus-group fear’, my notebook began to resemble a rogue Ofqual algorithm — but here’s the simplified version. Let’s start with the 600,000 Britons reportedly caught by the quarantine returning from Spain last month and the 150,000-plus in France who