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SOCIALIST MPs have demanded a “zero-Covid” strategy to eliminate or radically reduce the spread of coronavirus in Britain.
The Socialist Campaign Group of Labour MPs said today that the government did not lock down the country fast or long enough to see Covid-19 eliminated, as it had largely been in countries like New Zealand.
They said the alternative approach they are suggesting should be implemented urgently to protect public health and the economy.
Their call comes after the spread of coronavirus increased to more than 2,000 new cases a day this week for the first time since May.
In a statement, the group of 17 MPs said: “This sharp increase in Covid-19 cases is because the government had the wrong strategy.
“It did not pursue a zero-Covid strategy. Therefore lockdown was started too late and lifted too early — before the level of infections had been reduced to minimal levels.
“So we believe that it is reckless and dangerous to continue forcing people back to workplaces and easing lockdown even as cases rise.”
It is also impossible to force most people to resume their normal social lives while they are justifiably fearful of the pandemic, the statement added.
“Reducing the virus to minimal levels is not in contradiction to economic recovery. It is the precondition for economic recovery.”
The group is calling for a target to reduce the number of new coronavirus cases week on week, and acceleration of the development of a “comprehensive locally led but nationally supported” test, track and isolate programme in England.
It also suggested Covid-19 screening at airports and train stations, as well as the return of the government’s daily coronavirus briefings that were axed at the end of July.
In response to the alarming rise in new cases, PM Boris Johnson announced this week that socialising in groups of more than six people — excluding schools, churches, workplaces and organised team sports — will be banned from Monday.
In New Zealand, where PM Jacina Ardern implemented a “go hard, go early” approach to lockdown, an average of five new cases were reported daily this week, and five deaths in total since May.
The socialist MPs added: “A zero-Covid strategy has been successfully implemented in other countries like New Zealand.
“They have effectively eliminated the virus or reduced it to minimal levels. It is possible here too. In fact the virus was declining rapidly in this country until easing measures were introduced.”
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