Government must implement Zero-Covid policy to eliminate community transmission and abandon failed ‘Living with Covid’
People Before Profit are calling on the government to abandon their policy of ‘Living with Covid’ and implement a Zero-Covid policy (attached) to eliminate community transmission.
Key measures of the Zero-Covid plan include:
- Not to open up the economy until community transmission is eliminated
- Resource a permanent test, tracking and tracing system
- Restore economic measures for workers. Restore €350 for all and move to basic living income. Scrap the five week wait for Universal Credit in North and lift benefit cap
- A People’s vaccine and suspension of WTO TRIPS. Explore mass vaccination to be delivered, off-patent, by pharmaceutical sector
- Move towards an All-Ireland NHS- take private hospitals and facilities into public ownership
- Identify and target hotspots such as meat factories and other workplaces and direct provision centres
- Mandated sick pay scheme
- Close airports to non-essential travel and introduce mandatory quarantine for all incoming travel
- Create Green zones
Richard Boyd Barrett TD said: “The governments plan for ‘Living with Covid’ has failed spectacularly with tragic results. The approach of going from lockdown, to opening up, to surge, to lockdown is a disastrous plan as has been seen with the stratospheric numbers following their calamitous decision to open the country up pre-Christmas. Thus far each lockdown has been wasted. This country needs a new direction and a new plan. That plan is Zero-Covid.
“Zero-Covid gives us an opportunity to break cycle of the lockdown yo-yo and it gives us an opportunity to save the summer.
“To achieve this we must aim to eliminate community transmission of the virus and then we need proper investment in our tracking, testing and tracing system and real investment in our public health system so that we can chase the virus instead of the virus chasing us in and out of one surge and lockdown after another. We also need the government to work with the Northern Assembly to coordinate this Zero-Covid plan on an All-Ireland basis.
Speaking as People Before Profit’s Dublin North West representative, Conor Reddy, PhD Researcher in Immunology from the TCD Department of Clinical Medicine, said: “The advent of not one, but several effective Covid-19 vaccines is a triumph of Science and Medicine, but we will not vaccinate our way out of the hole we are in now. Production and supply of vaccines is a limiting factor on our ability to immunise the population. High levels of transmission, particularly among frontline workers, will further complicate vaccination efforts.
“Following the government’s ‘living with covid’ strategy until we have completed achieved population-level immunity by vaccination will take months and potentially several more cycles of surge and lockdown. We need a strategy to eliminate community transmission of the virus like Australia, New Zealand and many Asian countries have achieved – having vaccines on hand will accelerate this process and in turn, having lower levels of transmission will aid the immunisation effort. If we commit to a new approach now, we can break the cycle of rolling surges and lockdowns and make this our last lockdown, giving people hope again”
Paul Murphy said: “As part of a Zero-Covid strategy, we also need socialist policies to ensure that workers are bailed out. This means restoring the €350 Covid payment, providing sick pay and childcare leave for all workers, banning evictions and rent write offs for individuals and small businesses who need it. It also means requisitioning the private hospitals and taxing those billionaires and big businesses like Amazon who are making huge profits out of this crisis.
“For too long the other opposition parties were silent on this, going along with the government’s yo-yo strategy and letting them off the hook. But there is a growing momentum for a Zero-Covid strategy, with the Social Democrats now advocating it too. This can be stepped up now if Sinn Fein would throw their substantial weight behind this approach.”