Zero COVID: Victory Must Be Total

statement written by John Urquhart, Harmony Party UK general secretary, in collaboration with the Harmony Party UK Media Working Group

From the onset of this pandemic the way forward has been clear, yet the Johnson regime have refused to do what was needed.

The only way to defeat the virus without a vaccine is to reduce social contacts until the virus dies out in hosts it infects without ever infecting anyone else – known as “dead-ending“.

This is how New Zealand – and China – ended their first outbreak so successfully: by limiting social contacts until the virus dead-ended. This is the way forward to a “COVID secure” future: by eradicating the virus inside our borders, and then controlling any smaller future outbreaks as rapidly as possible to prevent future shutdowns.

It couldn’t be clearer to 66% of Britons – but the Conservatives still somehow can’t see it.

This will not be achieved simply by slowing the spread, which has been Government policy so far. We need an actual shutdown – probably forty days as an absolute minimum duration, maybe as many as eighty to achieve “COVID free” status.

This shutdown should be as close to complete as possible: only genuinely essential services should remain open – and even those should be tightly regulated to minimise total social contacts as far as possible without society keeling over.

It would require significant investment by Government; we would require a complete moratorium not only on evictions, but also, ideally, a pause on rent & mortgage payments to help see people through such a difficult time ahead. And, probably, UBI. This would not harm the economy in the long-term.

All the key components of the British economy will still be there, post-shutdown, waiting to reactivate: we would effectively just be putting the economy on ice for a little while. (And if it can’t handle that, that certainly vindicates what we socialists have said about capitalism all along, doesn’t it?)

The Conservatives have repeatedly shown they are willing to take from the mouths of the starving to feed the full-bellied: are they willing to actually help people who need it for once?

We would also need to completely, temporarily close our borders: absolutely no non-essential travel in, or out, of the country.

The only real problem now with achieving a “COVID free” status is that the Government has sent such mixed signals that there is a risk the public may not listen.

In one sense, that is the worst thing of all: they have not only bungled the response to COVID-19; they have potentially marooned us with the damn thing for as long as it takes to develop a vaccine. A vaccine, let us not forget, that is being developed by organisations with direct ties to those people who made the decisions which have put us in this situation.

But in all other senses, the worst aspect of this?

That is crystal clear. It is the near-total apathy of the Conservative Party in Government to the disproportionate impact of this virus on PoC, our elders, the disabled, and the marginalised.