People Before Profit MLA Gerry Carroll lays blame for the recent spike in COVID-19 cases with Stormont Executive decision-making and has called for a “Zero-Covid strategy”. Mr Carroll said:
“It is deeply concerning to hear of 923 new cases and even moreso, that evidence suggests our current rate of infection is among the worst in the world.
“Incredulously, Stormont advisors say they don’t quite understand the situation but it couldn’t be clearer: this spike is a result of the Executive rushing people back into workplaces, pupils back to schools and punters back into bars before it was safe; before a proper track and trace system was in place; and even before the furlough scheme had ended.
“The Executive parties are going to great lengths to shift the blame to the public by focusing on individual actions with higher fines for breaches of the rules.
“Indeed, when new cases first began to appear, Arlene Foster told us it was spreading in households rather than workplaces or bars. I asked repeatedly for the science to back up her claims but the evidence was never forthcoming. The fact that half of recent clusters have been identified within the hospitality industry prove that Foster’s claims were never credible.
“If we are to have any hope of flattening the latest curve, the Executive must abandon its course of blaming individuals, while prioritising profits over health. Imploring individuals to challenge the virus is akin to telling individuals to use less plastic as a means to stem climate change – without a systemic response, the efforts will be futile.
“We need to adopt a Zero-Covid strategy similar to New Zealand, society wide social distancing which keeps people out of workplaces which cannot isolate, and a functioning track, tracing and isolation system.
“This will mandate a massive shift of wealth from the wealthiest to those with increased need because they cannot work, but will save lives and money in the long run by preventing an endless cycle of circuit breaks and localised lockdowns.
“If the Executive do not have the guts to call for a radical redistribution of wealth, or to stand up to businesses who are lobbying for a return to normal at all costs, they are simply not up for the job of leading us through this crisis.”