The UK Government has been urged to commit to a “zero-Covid”‘ strategy across England by a group of MPs and peers.
In a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on coronavirus said the measure would “provide clarity and reassurance” to the public.
It follows an inquiry into the Government’s response to the pandemic by the group, who have warned of the risk of a second wave of the virus in winter.
As well as calling for a “zero-Covid” approach, the group recommends that ministers set a target to reduce the number of new cases seen in England over a seven day rolling average to no more than one new case per million population per day.
Measures proposed to help meet the target include accelerating the development of a “locally lead and locally coordinated, but nationally supported” Find, Test, Trace, Isolate and Support (FTTIS) programme in England.
The group also suggests devolving public health outbreak control efforts in responding to local flair-ups, as well as reinstating daily coronavirus briefings – which were ended in June.
Compulsory social distancing measures across England should also be maintained until zero-Covid is achieved, according to the group, with working from home actively encouraged.
It also suggests that coronavirus screening should be introduced at transport hubs including train stations, as well as highly transited locations such as shopping centres and supermarkets.
Introducing enforceable post-travel requirements such as a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of arrival and screening on all UK entry points combined with quarantine at a regulated locations, has also been suggested by the group.
Group chairwoman, Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran, said that the Prime Minister must now “get a grip”.
She said: “The Government has failed abysmally to put a clear strategy in place to eliminate coronavirus from the UK.
“This lack of clarity has left the public confused and our NHS and care staff flying blind.
“The Prime Minister must get a grip and introduce a comprehensive plan to control this deadly pandemic before this winter.
“We urgently need an effective communications strategy with clear messaging to the public, including by immediately reinstating daily press conferences.
“This must be accompanied by a fully functioning Find, Test, Trace, Isolate and Support (FTTIS) system and ensuring local authorities have the power and resources to contain local outbreaks.”