SCOTTISH CAMPAIGNERS CALLING for a new ‘Zero Covid’ approach to the pandemic from governments are winning support from leading politicians.

Dr Philippa Whitford, SNP MP for Central Ayrshire and a sponsor of a cross- party Zero Covid motion signed by 40 MPs this month in the House of Commons, will open a Zero Covid Scotland launch conference this month. Dr Whitford, who also works in the NHS as a surgeon, will speak alongside leading scientists, trade unionists and activists.

‘Zero Covid’ is the strategy adopted in New Zealand and other countries across the world to eliminate virus transmission. It is gaining increased attention as an alternative to present UK policies. Dr Whitford is a member of the All Party Parliament Group on Coronavirus at Westminster, which recommended a Zero Covid approach last year.

The approach is also supported by many scientists, including those who are part of the Independent SAGE group. Campaigners say that as new varieties of Covid continue to appear, vaccination cannot be the complete answer and a new and effective campaign to eliminate the virus is urgently needed alongside it.

Mike Downham, a founding member of the Zero Covid Scotland campaign, and a retired paediatrician specialising in respiratory diseases, said: “We need a Zero Covid Scotland. Nearly 9,000 people have died in Scotland from Covid infection. For those of us who have survived, the cycle of partial lockdowns and partial relaxations is no way to live.

“Life is particularly difficult for people living on their own, those forced to go to unsafe workplaces because they cannot afford not to, people who are homeless, and refugees.

“It is also a terrible time for young people emerging from education to find there are no jobs for them.
The only way to stop repeated waves of infection and lockdowns is by eliminating the virus using the tried and tested Zero Covid method. Scotland needs to eliminate while we vaccinate.”

The newly formed Zero Covid Scotland campaign will work with community organisations, different political parties and trade unions, lobbying for Scotland to adopt a ‘Zero Covid’ strategy. This strategy has saved lives and protected jobs in many countries around the world, its supporters point out.

Downham adds: “Last summer, Covid was virtually eliminated from Scotland. Australia had similar rates of infection, but life there is now largely back to normal, as it is in New Zealand and China. Small outbreaks are quickly dealt with through a proper test and trace system.

“Scotland can eliminate the virus too if we follow a Zero Covid strategy. Across the world there is a movement to demand Zero Covid as the alternative. Let us choose a Zero Covid Scotland for a life without lockdown.”

* Zero Covid Scotland’s first public meeting will be held online through the Zoom platform on Saturday 13th March 2021, from 10am-2pm. Event link here.

* Early Day Motion (#1450) House of Commons on Zero Covid Strategy.

* All Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus – Aim for ‘Zero Covid UK’.

* Independent SAGE’s proposed strategy for a Zero Covid UK.

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