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APPG says Government needs proper Covid exit strategy

The Government must adopt a ‘Covid-secure’ exit strategy or risk a third spike in the New Year.

That’s the key recommendation of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus, which has received nearly 3000 evidence submissions since the summer.

The APPG was set up in July to conduct a rapid inquiry into the government’s handling of the pandemic. 

Chief among the report’s 44 recommendations is a warning that the Government is ‘gambling with the UK’s future by relaxing restrictions over the Christmas period and returning to a tier system which we know has not worked before’.

 It adds that the government’s core argument that there is a ‘balance’ to be found between the country’s health and wealth has led to the UK having among the highest death tolls per capita and worst economic downturns.

The government needs to adopt the Covid-secure UK plan to suppress the virus and then catch new cases at UK entry points while the vaccine programmes are rolled out.

The centralised and outsourced Test and Trace system operating in England has failed, the report says.

It has consistently failed to meet the required target of 80% of contacts traced to be effective.

Without adequate financial support and general assistance to isolate, the requirement to isolate is not being complied with by a significant proportion of cases. As a result, the chains of transmission are not being broken, and cases can continue to rise.

Other solutions

Lockdowns have become the UK Government’s only solution to bringing down the incidence of Covid-19 in England, because it does not have a locally led Find, Test, Trace, Isolate and Support system in place throughout the country.

Layla Moran MP, chair of the APPG on Coronavirus, said: “We are concerned that the Government’s approach so far has not worked and has left the UK mourning one of the highest number of lives lost to the pandemic, while at the same time bracing for one of the deepest recessions in its aftermath.

“Our message to the Prime Minister is that without a proper long-term exit strategy, relying on a tier system we know doesn’t work and waiting for enough people to be vaccinated will only lead to a likely third spike and lockdown in the New Year.”

The report also says isolation is having a devastating impact on those in social care.

All people living in care or supported living need to be safely reconnected with their support networks for the crucial emotional and practical support that friends and families provide.

The government should also launch a national registry to count the number of people living with Long Covid and spearhead global efforts to research it.

Professor Andrew Goddard, president of the Royal College of Physicians, said: “We’re pleased to see that the APPG on Coronavirus has recommended that testing should be available to frontline workers and their households as a priority, and that results should be accessible within 24 hours.

“Progress has been made, with asymptomatic testing now available to all staff in high-risk areas, but it is vital all doctors and their families have access to tests when they need them.”

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