'UK must adopt zero Covid strategy to stop new variants'

26 January 2021, 15:56

By Fiona Jones

The only way to stop new variants from becoming the most common form of the virus is to adopt a zero Covid strategy, the Lancet editor Richard Horton told Shelagh Fogarty.

His words of warning came after the news the Covid-19 pandemic has claimed the lives of more than 100,000 people in the UK, according to ONS data.

The medical journal's editor-in-chief said, "These variants have already spread far beyond their points of origin. They might not have been picked up by Test and Trace systems but they're out there.

"They will slowly become the more dominant varieties."

Mr Horton pointed out that the data is still yet to reveal whether the new variants, declared in the UK, South Africa and Brazil, are more deadly and infectious than the initial strain of the virus.

He continued: "The only way to reduce the risk of new variants is to be much more aggressive in the way that Australia has been, in the way that New Zealand has been, about going for zero Covid.

"I don't understand why we haven't adopted a zero Covid strategy, this is a proven way of controlling the virus, and yet we don't seem to be willing to take that extra step."

He questioned why the UK is not learning the lesson of countries who have "got it right."

The editor told Shelagh that Covid is "not going away" and the UK needs to be "much more aggressive" about adopting a stringent strategy with clear targets.

"We don't have a plan for coming out of lockdown, we don't have a zero Covid strategy. I just don't think we're taking it seriously enough," Mr Horton said.

More Shelagh Fogarty News

See more More Shelagh Fogarty News

Headteacher tells LBC of more than £67,000 increase in her school's energy bills

Headteacher tells LBC of more than £67,000 increase in her school's energy bills

Governance 'undermined' by No10 'survival' culture, Shad. Chief Treasury Sec tells Shelagh Fogarty

Governance 'undermined' by No10 'survival' culture, Shad Chief Treasury Sec tells Shelagh Fogarty

Shelagh Fogarty's devastating takedown of Boris Johnson partygate denial

Shelagh Fogarty's devastating takedown of Boris Johnson partygate denial

'Morally inept' NDA practice in uni sex cases must be scrapped, Minister insists

'Morally inept' uni sex case NDAs must be scrapped, Minister demands

Partygate scandal: 'I will never vote Conservative again,' caller says

Partygate scandal: 'I will never vote Conservative again,' passionate caller says

Ex-Met standards boss defends lack of No10 party investigations

Ex-Met standards boss defends lack of No10 party investigation

Tory MP Sir Roger Gale tells LBC party has to replace Boris Johnson as leader

Tory MP Sir Roger Gale tells LBC Boris Johnson has to be replaced as leader

Shelagh Fogarty's passionate clash with caller defending No10 party

Shelagh Fogarty's passionate clash with caller defending Number 10 party

Pavan Sagoo passed away in the same month Downing Street held a party for staff.

Mum who lost daughter, 14, during May 2020 lockdown too devastated to say the PM's name

Cladding crisis: Caller facing bankruptcy and 'fighting it every single day on credit cards'

Cladding crisis: Caller fighting bankruptcy 'every single day on credit cards'

Colston's Girls' School ex-pupil reveals 'inappropriate' rituals to slave trader

Colston's Girls' School ex-pupil reveals 'inappropriate' rituals to slave trader

'I will now say that I forgive the person who killed my son'

'I will now say that I forgive the person who killed my son'

Shelagh Fogarty takes issue with caller saying PM lies with 'every word'

Best of 2021: Shelagh Fogarty takes issue with caller saying PM lies with 'every word'

Shelagh Fogarty's best moments of 2021

Shelagh Fogarty's best moments of 2021

Best of 2021: Clash with caller branding bikini-wearing girls 'shocking'

Best of 2021: Clash with caller branding bikini-wearing girls 'shocking'

Sadiq Khan: Omicron will 'surge' without new restrictions post-Christmas

Sadiq Khan: Omicron will 'surge' without new restrictions post-Christmas