The campaign to beat the pandemic

Take action – Defend self-isolation and free testing!

10 February 2022 / zerocovid

Sign the self-isolation petition

The Zero Covid Coalition has launched a new petition demanding that the UK Government abandon its plans to remove the legal requirement to self-isolate.

Boris Johnson has just announced that he will end self-isolation for people infected with Covid-19.

Now is not the time to allow greater freedom for the virus. New cases and deaths remain at disturbingly dangerous levels. The Health Secretary already told us that the pressures on the NHS will get worse for years.

Ending the requirement for self-isolation will make the situation worse. It removes one of the last remaining safeguards we have.

In a snap poll for YouGov, 75% of the population disagree with this decision and only 17% support it. 

This decision will force a huge number of people, especially the vulnerable or immuno-suppressed into isolation as a result.

There is no indication that this measure is based on scientific advice, and we call on the government to re-think this reckless decision and reverse course.  

Write to your MP

Write to your MP today to demand that they resist this reckless action on the part of the Johnson Government! We have made a quick tool that you can use to send a template letter.

Here is the text of the template letter:

I am writing to urge you to fight to maintain the absolutely crucial self-isolation legislation. The self-isolation regulations must not be allowed to expire, this month or the next, or for as long as we have community transmission of Covid-19. Polling shows that only a small minority of the public agree with the plans.

Ending this legislation will put me and all of your constituents at increased risk of sickness, lost income, long Covid, or potentially even death. This is especially true for clinically vulnerable people, who have been completely abandoned while shielding throughout the pandemic. Despite Boris Johnson’s declarations otherwise, the trends in the data remain dire. Tens of thousands of UK residents test positive for Covid and hundreds of people are dying every day.

The legislation also included a duty on employers not to allow workers to come into the workplace when they are supposed to be self-isolating. Removing this measure will likely lead to your constituents, and people across the UK, being made to work while they have the virus, endangering themselves, their colleagues and members of the public.

We know that the support currently available for self-isolation is inadequate. The TUC found in mid-December that more than 250,000 workers were self-isolating without adequate sick pay, or any sick pay at all. Instead of seeking to undermine self-isolation, the correct policy is to provide real practical and financial support to those required to self-isolate. This is especially important in the context of the cost-of-living crisis. That is why I am also asking you to sign EDM 954 ‘Statutory Sick Pay and a living wage’.

The right way forward is to commit to a ‘vaccines-plus’ strategy, including by continuing to provide free tests, and through mask mandates, investment in ventilation, rebuilding the test and trace system (and handing it back to the public sector), implementing safety measures in schools and workplaces and ending vaccine apartheid through a patent waiver, vaccine-sharing and technology transfers.

Sign Keep Our NHS Public’s free tests petition

Join Dr John Puntis, retired consultant paediatrician and co-chair of Keep Our NHS Public, in calling on Boris Johnson to keep free tests.

Boris Johnson is set to lift all covid restrictions in the UK, and scrap free lateral flow testing.

As a retired doctor, I know this is a dangerous step. It will put vulnerable people at risk and undo lots of the great progress we’ve made in tracking and tackling this pandemic.

Now is not the time to end isolation or free tests and I’m urging Boris Johnson to re-think this move!

Many scientists and 75% of senior NHS staff don’t agree with the government that the covid pandemic is all but over. Crucial data from the Office of National Statistics surveys tell us that currently in the UK around 1 in 20 people are infected and 150 die from covid-19 each day. Such high levels of infection here and in many parts of the world where only a small minority have been vaccinated are a recipe for new and more harmful variants to emerge.

Both common sense and science dictate that now is not the time to scrap PCR test centres, free lateral flow tests, self-isolation or collection of coronavirus surveillance data.

To imagine that wishful thinking can end the pandemic is both delusional and dangerous, and puts many more lives at risk. This is not ‘learning to live with covid’ but learning to die with it. As usual, the burden will fall heaviest on the most vulnerable and disadvantaged within society.

Please join me in calling on the government to continue with PCR and free lateral flow testing, self-isolation with support for those infected, and gathering of essential surveillance data to give warning of new variants and adverse trends until a scientific consensus says all of these are no longer necessary.

This country has been through so much hardship in the last two years. Let’s make sure that all the hard work and sacrifices the public and NHS staff have made have not been in vain. Please listen to the science and our concerns and don’t scrap covid testing or free lateral flow tests!

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