The concept of the state tracking our every movement is anathema to this magazine and, we assume, to its liberal former editor now resident in Downing Street. Nevertheless, such is the impasse over coronavirus that it is right the government should attempt to exit lockdown via the application of a voluntary ‘track and trace’ on mobile phones, trials of which began on the Isle of Wight this week. Track and trace appears to have worked for Asia so, given what’s at stake, it’s reasonable to try it here.
South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam — the countries which employed tracking and tracing from an early date — appear to have dealt with Covid-19 the most effectively, minimising the impact on their economics and societies. Meanwhile, those countries which have relied entirely on lockdown to flatten the curve — Italy, Spain, the US and Britain — have the highest death tolls.