In addition to the calls from MPs representing constituencies in the North of England for a “clear road-map “ out of restrictions, today sees the launch of the campaign for the Covid-Secure UK plan, supported by a group of cross-party MPs, scientists and health professionals. The proposal is for for a three-step “Control, Suppress, Eliminate” coronavirus exit strategy, similar to that of New Zealand. Those backing the Covid-Secure UK exit strategy campaign include Layla Moran MP, Dr Dan Poulter MP, Dr Philippa Whitford MP, Munira Wilson MP, Caroline Lucas MP, Clive Lewis MP, Prof. Devi Shridhar and Prof. Martin McKee, all of whom believe the plan represents the only viable way to protect both the health and the wealth of the nation, prevent the repeated use of lockdowns and avoid workplace and school closures until effective treatment or a vaccine becomes available.
The proposed first step, Control, sets out nine measures to reduce the R number (rate of transmission) below 1, including developing an effective national Find, Test, Trace, Isolate and Support (FTTIS) program; improving clarity of communication around measures required; organised clear media updates on local infection rates; devolving power back to local authorities to deal with local outbreaks; and full financial support for anyone required to self-isolate.
The second Suppress section lays out five measures, mainly focussed on testing on entry to the country: control of quarantine; expanded testing; the role of devolved governments and linking back to the proposed FTTIS program.
Finally, the brief Elimination section requests that preparation take place for an effective vaccination program if and when a vaccine becomes available, but reiterates the need to implement the first stages of the plan to ensure a Covid-secure UK, and maintain border security in the absence of any certainty that this will become possible in the foreseeable future.
The Covid-Secure UK plan campaign is organised by the group March for Change, which is the secretariat for the all-party MPs’ group on coronavirus.