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Key findings from the APPG on Coronavirus and how government has managed (or not)

December 3, 2020 5:36 PM

Full report here:

Foreword from Layla Moran MP

The coronavirus crisis has touched every aspect of our lives. While it was not something we were expecting, it is now clear that we should have been much better prepared. I formed the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Coronavirus, with members from all political parties and both Houses, because this pandemic has had a devastating impact on our country. An independent public inquiry had been spoken about but not started, and our concern was that there seemed to be no vehicle to provide constructive criticism and learn the lessons from the first wave to avoid the second. This report covers the work of our rapid inquiry from July to October 2020. It is published at the zenith of the second wave we were all hoping to avoid.

The central objective of the APPG on Coronavirus is to save lives but, as is laid bare in this report, to save lives is to save livelihoods. To do that, the Government must listen and adapt. We write this report with the sincere hope that, by working cross-party with scientists, civil society and individuals, we can help the Government to do what we need it to do at this time of national crisis: succeed.

It was also becoming apparent that the voices of ordinary people, especially those suffering with Long Covid, frontline workers and the bereaved were not being heard loudly enough. We hope this serves to amplify their contributions and remind policy makers of the real human consequences of their decisions.

The report contains 71 key findings, which inform 44 recommendations. This is especially important now, as the UK government is gambling with the UK's future by relaxing restrictions over the Christmas period and returning to a tier system which we know has not worked before. The recommendations range from the very specific (on Long Covid recognition and support) to the operational (highlighting the need for the Isolate part of Test, Trace, Isolate to be financially compensated more generously) and the strategic (the lack of a coherent exit strategy).

Our topmost recommendation is that we urgently need a UK-wide exit strategy that acknowledges that by saving people's lives, we in turn safeguard their jobs and the economy. We challenge the UK Government's core argument that there is a 'balance' to be found between the health and wealth of the UK, and instead advocate an approach closer to those nations that have successfully 'beaten' the virus. This includes strong initial restrictions to get case numbers extremely low everywhere, a TTI system that is locally led and nationally resourced that pays people to stay at home if they need to and aggressive testing at the borders, turning our island geography into a powerful advantage. We are concerned that the Government's approach so far has not worked and has left the UK mourning among the highest number of lives lost to the pandemic, while at the same time bracing for one of the deepest recessions in its aftermath. The vaccine may be around the corner, and that is brilliant news, but the logistical challenges and uncertainty make it almost certain that we have months, if not years, of aftermath to contend with.

I would like to thank all officers and members of the APPG on Coronavirus for their tireless work and input in numerous oral evidence sessions held since the summer, and for their work behind the scenes too. They have put party politics aside and worked with colleagues from across Parliament's political spectrum.

But most of all, I would like to thank everyone who has submitted evidence orally or in writing, especially those who have shared their personal stories. We have all been touched by their bravery and passion. This report is for them.

Layla Moran MP
Chair of the APPG on Coronavirus
Member of Parliament for Oxford West and Abingdon