'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

'Mick Lynch is inspirational': Frustrated NHS doctor says she'd strike if given the chance

'Mick Lynch is inspirational': Frustrated NHS doctor says she'd strike if given the chance

Child abuse scandal: Mother of victim reveals 'despicable' police response

'I begged for help': Mother of child abuse victim reveals 'despicable' police failings

'Panadol's my best friend': Caller says he's hired EU staff to avoid Brexit 'headache'

'Panadol's my best friend': Caller says he's hired EU staff to avoid Brexit 'headache'

Shelagh Fogarty caller 'ashamed' to say he voted for Brexit

'I just feel so much regret': Shelagh Fogarty caller 'ashamed' to say he voted for Brexit

James O'Brien blasts Ministers for boosting city fat cats' pay 'to show benefits of Brexit'

James O'Brien blasts Ministers for boosting city fat cats' pay 'to show benefits of Brexit'

Veteran journalist demands answers after Carrie Johnson story pulled

Veteran journalist demands answers after Carrie Johnson story pulled

Ex-England gymnast speaks out about abuse suffered from coach

Ex-England gymnast speaks out about abuse suffered from coach

UK's farmland being sacrificed to house 'illegal' migrants, caller fumes

UK's farmland being sacrificed to house 'illegal' migrants, caller fumes

Shelagh Fogarty warns of Grenfell fire and Hillsborough response 'parallels'

'Real parallels with Hillsborough': Shelagh Fogarty on Grenfell handling

Shelagh Fogarty clashes with caller who defends Rebel Wilson's 'outing'

Shelagh Fogarty clashes with caller who defends Rebel Wilson's 'outing'

Cigarettes could become green or warn of minutes of life lost, says smoking review leader

Cigarettes could become green or warn of minutes of life lost, says smoking review leader

Railway worker opens up to Shelagh Fogarty about plan to strike amid cost of living struggle

Railway worker opens up about plan to strike amid cost of living struggle

England legend Luther Blissett says Gareth Southgate 'wrong' on racial abuse

Ex-England star Luther Blissett says Gareth Southgate 'wrong' on racial abuse

Shelagh Fogarty argues Gareth Southgate shouldn't let racism concern influence penalty picks

Shelagh Fogarty argues Southgate shouldn't let racism concern influence penalty picks

'I'd have been tempted to boo': Shelagh Fogarty compares Jubilee-booing of Boris to former politicians

'I'd have been tempted': Shelagh Fogarty compares booing of Boris to ex-politicians

Andrew Marr: We are all Elizabethans, that's who we are

Andrew Marr: We are all Elizabethans