FOREIGN lockdowns, asylum seekers and Britain’s obsession with dogs were the issues raised by columnists in the newspapers.

The Daily Mail

Dominic Lawson said it was hard to suppress feelings of relative contentment in our own circumstances when we look at what is happening in Germany and Austria, Covid-wise.

“In Austria, yet another lockdown has just been imposed. And it looks as though one might soon be in force across Germany, which is also considering the introduction of mandatory vaccination,” he said. “The reason — apart from the virulence of the Delta Variant — was pointed out by the German health minister, Jens Spahn: ‘We are currently experiencing a pandemic of the unvaccinated, which is massive.’”

He said the three outliers at the top of the ‘vaccine refusal index’ are Austria, Switzerland and Germany, with between 22 and 25 per cent unvaccinated among the population above the age of 12.

“Let’s just say it’s good that health cranks are much less influential here. Because what in normal times might be harmless eccentricity is a menace during a pandemic.”

The Daily Express

Leo McKinstry said the relentless procession of illegal migrant boats continues to make its way across the English Channel this winter.

“At the latest count, 25,000 people have already made the journey this year, triple the total for the whole of 2020,” he said. “Our asylum procedures are so badly broken that they now pose a threat to our security, as highlighted by the case of Liverpool bomber Emad Al Swealmeen. Exasperated at the South Coast shambles, the Prime Minister has ordered “a review” of the options to tackle the problem.

“Amid huge backlogs of asylum claims, the Home Office is clueless about the size of the illegal migrant population. But it does not really care.”

The Guardian

Tim Dowling said that in the first year of the pandemic, more than 3 million new pets were acquired in the UK – many of them dogs.

“Predictably, as restrictions lifted in July, the Dogs Trust reported a huge increase in traffic – up 180% from February – to the “giving up your dog” section of its website,” he said. “People are reportedly handing in their animals as “fake strays” in order to spare themselves the embarrassment of being failed or fairweather dog owners.”

He said he was a dog owner, but didn’t want to see photos of other people’s dogs or to talk about them as if they were people.

“As much as it’s worth reminding people that a dog isn’t just for Covid, I can’t help hoping that the fading of the pandemic will bring a stop all to the madness. At the moment, I can’t see an end to either.”