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The pandemic has prompted European citizens to accept changes in social behavior that would have seemed impossible only a year ago. People have stopped shaking hands, started wearing masks and learned to talk at some distance. They have adhered to government rules keeping them at home and closing down their businesses. They have stopped attending funerals and weddings.

We’ve let the state take ever more intrusive measures in limiting our lives, all in the hope of limiting contagion. But the next apparent move in this direction — encouraging individuals to police each other — goes too far. Politicians in Italy and the U.K. should avoid making citizens suspicious of one another. It will do little to fight the virus while inflicting damage on communities.

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