THE former Prime Minister of Denmark, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, has outlined how the UK could become a global leader in new international standards following the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking on BBC Question Time, Thorning-Schmidt said that the UK government needs to have “a deep conversation about: what is the new normal? How are we going to live together the next year, for example?” She said that the world needs to adopt new international standards regarding travelling, for example on trains and aeroplanes.
And she noted: “I would hope that the UK could also be a leader in this globally.”
Thorning-Schmidt added that the international change in transport standards “is almost like after 9/11, where everything changed in terms of how we were travelling across the world”.
She continued: “I think we need to understand this new normal, and thats why Im hoping … we can get into a situation where we all can recognise this is a new situation”.
The former prime minister added that governments should acknowledge mistakes that have been made in their pandemic responses.
She said: “Mistakes have been made; I will take responsibility as Prime Minister that we did not prepare properly for a pandemic like this.
“We had SARS, we had the swine flu, we had all these things, but we still didnt prepare properly, and I dont think the British government did either.
“We have to be in a mode where we breathe and say now is the new normal, we all have to be part of doing that and talking about how we want to do that”.
She also said that everyone must “get out of this automatic reaction where we say we didnt do anything wrong, and surely we cant find a fault with anything.
“After all this, we also have to evaluate and create new standards together.”
Helle Thorning-Schmidt was prime minister of Denmark from 2011 to 2015, the Syndey Morning Herald reports, and was the first woman to lead the country with her Social Democrats party.
She was also the CEO of the charity Save the Children International until she stepped down from the role in January 2019.
It remains to be seen what new international standards will be implemented in the fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic, or how the UK plans to contribute.
But within the UK domestically, Londons walking and cycling commissioner Will Norman hinted earlier this month that public transport in the UK capital would shift towards not using it at all.
Norman said: “The only way London is going to operate in terms of our capacity on our roads and capacity on our public transport is to move wherever possible to cycling and walking,” the Guardian reports.
It comes as Sadiq Khan, Londons mayor, announced last week that several main streets in London would be closed off to most vehicles, and remain open only for buses, pedestrians and bicycles.
The move comes as officials seek to find ways of getting people back to work whilst ensuring that social distancing can be observed as much as possible on public transport.
Khan has said that doing this will take a “monumental effort” from Londoners.
And nationally, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced a £2 billion package to “put cycling and walking at the heart of our transport policy” on May 9.
Meanwhile, Mr Shapps also suggested that the UK could consider allowing international travel between it and some countries depending on their rate of infection – or their R-number.
It comes after the government said that travellers from France would be subject to quarantine upon arrival in the UK in an apparent U-turn on previous announcements.