Richard Burgon: ‘The only thing that makes a lockdown more likely is the government’s current inaction’

By Mason Quah

RICHARD Burgon has voiced the fear that rising case numbers heading into winter, and the lack of control measures for the pandemic could lead to another national lockdown becoming necessary.

Speaking at an event for the Zero Covid Coalition, alongside Diane Abbott, and Bell Rebeiro-Addy, the three Labour MPs voiced criticisms of the government’s current lax management of the pandemic.

As of November 10, 2021, the United Kingdom has the second highest number of new cases Europe, and the 4th highest number of daily deaths.

Richard Burgon said: “For too long the UK government has been acting as if Covid is over, as if the pandemic is no longer a threat.

“The only thing that makes another lockdown more likely is the government’s current inaction.”

The MPs laid out measures that would enable more effective management of the virus’s spread without requiring a lockdown, such as more effective contact tracing, and the installation of better ventilation in businesses and schools that allow them to safely remain open.

Diane Abbott pointed to the period of time in which UK cases surpassed the entirety of Western Europe, alongside an unnamed senior minister claimed in July that the pandemic was “all over but the shouting.”

Abbott said: “Those words must ring hollow for all those who have lost loved ones since this statement was issued.

“But the government acts as if that statement is true, denying mitigations in schools and workplaces and at public events.

“We cannot go away while thousands of people are getting seriously ill.”

Abbott added: “We can not allow rich countries to hoard vaccines to the point that they are unusable.”

Burgon said: “If the government insists that we learn to live with the virus than surely the least people can expect is that there is a fully functioning, publicly run test and trace system, not one that is being use tho lone the pockets of shareholders. “

Bell Rebeiro Addy said: “More than 18 months in and we have never had a trusted test and trace system despite spending £37 billion on it.

“We can see how many contracts have gone to the private sector that the NHS was able to do better and cheaper. “

Host Nimo Hussein compared the group’s Zero Covid advocacy to other areas of civil management.

“We have a zero fires policy. This doesn’t mean that there are never any fires, it does mean we always suppress them.

“We should have the same approach to the virus.”

Featured Image: Rwendland @WikimediaCommons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

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