In this edition, I have mined the archives (topically, I hope) for some case notes dating back to 2004 when Sarah Prager and I did battle in an appeal arising out of the cancellation of a package holiday to Hong Kong at the time of the SARS epidemic. The scale of the present crisis may now make SARS seem like a minor inconvenience, but it is perhaps useful (and comforting?) to know that, in the law at least, there is nothing (wholly) new under the sun (even if regulations 12 and 13 of the Package Travel Regulations 1992 are now regulation 11 of the Package Travel Regulations 2018).
In other news, and in an effort to avoid the BBC news live feed, I have also been looking back at what one might call “plague era literature” (yes, it’s a barrel of laughs in my household these days). Perhaps Gabriel Garcia Marquez is an obvious choice, but “Love in the Time of Cholera” is a rich source of apposite quotes: try these, “Humanity, like armies in the field, advances at the speed of the slowest.” and “wisdom comes to us when it can no longer do any good.”However, as I sit here awaiting the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s latest financial stimulus package, I think I prefer these lines from John Donne (wise, funny and perhaps better-suited to this strange Spring): “And though each spring do add to love new heat,/As princes do in time of action get/New taxes, and remit them not in peace,/No winter shall abate the spring’s increase.” (“Love’s Growth”) Let’s hope that the winter of covid-19 will abate … and soon.
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