Tag Archives: coronavirus guidance

There is only one way out of the pandemic: to suppress the coronavirus

6 Aug

We can still avert further catastrophic damage to people’s lives, futures and the economy but to do so we need to make an effective challenge to the government’s frighteningly chaotic approach and replace it with an open, evidence-based strategy that the population understands and supports.

The Labour Party needs to fight for the UK to take the approach that has protected the populations of other countries, outlined in this motion that Islington North Constituency Labour Party passed overwhelmingly on 19th August.

You are welcome to use this motion as a model. There’s also a short background document below it with more information for people proposing or supporting the motion.

Model motion

Governments with a policy of eliminating the virus have saved tens of thousands of lives and rescued their economies. A similar policy in the UK is both possible and necessary. New Zealand, South Korea, Iceland, China and Scotland have done everything possible to eliminate the virus. In contrast, the UK, USA, Brazil, India and Russia, whose governments have allowed the virus to circulate, are heading towards economic devastation and continuing high levels of illness and mortality.

We call on the Labour Party to oppose the government’s approach and to adopt a policy of total suppression and elimination of COVID-19.

Instead of attempting to eliminate the virus, the government has tried to keep it within NHS capacity. It has refused to share the claimed scientific evidence for this strategy; hidden or distorted infection and death rates; downplayed the dangers; and ignored public health principles which would have protected the population.

Its failed policy magnifies inequality, endangering people who are older, Black or members of ethnic minorities, disabled, poor, in crowded and shared accommodation, care home residents, or have other medical conditions or suppressed immune systems.

Lifting restrictions while the virus is still circulating widely, imposes increasing limitations, poverty and isolation on these groups while others pick up the pieces of their pre-lockdown lives.

The virus not only kills, it causes long-term disability and after-effects. High numbers of deaths next winter resulting from current government policy are predictable, avoidable and unacceptable.

Instead of speculating on the discovery of a safe, effective vaccine, we need a strategy which aims to eliminate the virus. Suppression of the virus would allow the reopening of the country without fear or danger, and vulnerable groups would no longer face indefinite imprisonment in their homes.

XXX Ward urgently calls on the Labour Party: to adopt the Zero COVID strategy outlined by Independent SAGE, a group of scientists and experts who, unlike the government, share their evidence and deliberations in public; and to work with them to develop a long-term response to the crisis.

Background notes

Governments with a policy of eliminating the virus have saved tens of thousands of lives and rescued their economies. Adopting a similar policy in the UK is not only possible but necessary.

Countries such as New Zealand, South Korea, Iceland, China and Scotland have made every effort to eliminate the virus. In stark and tragic contrast, the UK, USA, Brazil, India and Russia, whose governments have allowed the virus to circulate, are heading towards economic devastation and continuing high levels of illness and mortality.

We urge the Labour Party to oppose the government’s approach, and to adopt and campaign for a policy of total suppression and elimination of COVID-19.

Refusing discussion, debate or evaluation of its approach, the government’s strategy has been to keep the virus at levels that do not overwhelm the capacity of the NHS, but not to attempt to eliminate it.

It has refused to share the claimed scientific evidence for this policy; it has hidden or distorted the infection and death rates; it has silenced discussion or dissent; and it has downplayed the dangers and consequences of its policy. The government ignored proven public health principles which would have protected the population from this deadly and disabling new virus.

This failed policy of attempting to manage low levels of infection without attempting to eliminate it, magnifies inequality. It directly endangers the lives of people who are older, Black or members of ethnic minorities, disabled, poor, living in crowded and shared accommodation, care home residents, or those who have other medical conditions or suppressed immune systems.

Lifting restrictions while the virus is still circulating widely puts all these people in greater danger. They face an impossible choice of going out and risking their lives or suffering increasing restrictions, poverty and isolation, while others – predominantly young, white, healthy and affluent – are able to pick up the pieces of their pre-lockdown lives. Under these conditions, the more freedom some people have, the more restrictions others face.

This is why the Tory strategy of maintaining low levels of infection must be robustly opposed.

The virus causes not only large numbers of deaths but also longterm disability and after-effects in a large (and rising) number of people. A huge number of deaths next winter resulting from current government policy is predictable, avoidable and unacceptable.

No one knows when – or even if – a safe and effective vaccine will be discovered. Instead of speculating and living in hope, we need a strategy which, like those of other countries, aims to eliminate the virus. Suppression of the virus would allow the immediate reopening of the country and workplaces without fear or danger, and would mean that vulnerable groups no longer face indefinite imprisonment in their homes.

We believe that the Labour Party urgently needs to adopt the Zero COVID strategy outlined by Independent SAGE, a group of scientists and experts who, unlike the government, share their evidence and deliberations in public. The Party should work with Independent SAGE to develop a longterm response to the continuing crisis.