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The British government has pushed back against lawmakers who, in a damning cross-party report, accused it of dithering over border controls as the COVID-19 pandemic gathered steam in March—dooming thousands of people to infection as a result.
The U.K. only instituted strict entry controls in early June, when it started requiring everyone arriving in the country to self-isolate for two weeks or face fines. This was nearly three months after many other countries introduced controls requiring quarantine or at least health screening on arrival.
The country had imposed some controls on people arriving from China, Iran and Italy quite early in the crisis, in February and early March, but then it abruptly lifted them on March 13. The U.K. went on to be hit harder than any other European country, with a death toll that currently stands above 46,000, and a confirmed infection count of 306,000.
Why did Boris Johnson’s government make that fateful mid-March decision? That’s what Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee wanted to know, and on Wednesday it delivered its verdict.
“The Committee was unable …