Pandemic response that will also future proof against further pandemics

Due to new variants, repeated vaccinations will not eradicate Covid. We know long Covid is common and will be costly to manage long term. Mild cases in younger people are leading to long Covid hence more drastic measures needed. The ONLY way for us to live our lives free from the constant fear of Covid, illness, hospitalisation, death or long-term disability is to eradicate it. Billions have been spent on track and trace (reportedly ineffective) which is ‘reactive’ not ‘proactive’ and means we are chasing the virus constantly. The only option is for everyone to self test daily if they plan to mix with others that day, brush your teeth and Covid self test. This is already happening in other countries, the test is via saliva, takes seconds, is linked to your phone via QR with results in 15 minutes. We should invest heavily in self tests. Most have a mobile, those that don’t relatives / community carers could assist. QR tracking is essential in a pandemic. Each person having a QR code is no different to having a normal passport. It could be temporary / trial basis. Anyone who has a positive home test would have a confirmatory PCR test administered by a nurse (in full PPE) and self isolate. QR codes mean they can be tracked to ensure self isolation and not putting others at risk. The above would lead to zero spread in the community or workplace. This will also catch the one in three who have no symptoms plus super spreaders eradicating super spreading events. Everything can re-open with no masks / social distancing and everyone will feel secure that everyone who is mixing is COVID FREE. You will scan your QR code on your phone to enter pubs, bars, restaurants, sporting events, cinemas, theatres etc. This technology is already in place. Tracking via QR will mean 100% compliance with large fines / arrests needed for non-compliance, risking many thousands of lives due to the knock-on effect. To start we could have a National Self Test Day – a Bank Holiday when we all test on that day. Very careful instructions would be shown on TV and advertised plus posted to all. It would be a national cohesive effort. This will show exactly who has the virus at one specific period in time which is priceless data for scientists and the Government. All tests should be means tested, free to those who cannot afford. Given the current low numbers achieved by lockdown we could do this ASAP and see where the current hot spots are. It will also mean that variants can be checked and any South African / Brazilian / evolving strains stopped in their tracks. This would be a huge exercise BUT worth it. Vaccine passports serve no purpose as they DO NOT mean you are virus free and DO NOT mean that you cannot spread the virus. Only a negative test can do this. If we all self test before we interact with others then we know we are keeping everyone we come into contact with safe. The ONLY reason we have the virus here is travellers from other countries. The only way to prevent travellers bringing the virus / new variants here is by having COVID FREE airports. These 15 minute saliva tests can be done at the entrance to the airport – a specific testing hall at which ALL members of staff and travellers HAVE to be tested and pass through to enter. This extra testing security means airports can be confidently COVID FREE – once in you know you are safe and can relax, knowing that no-one has the virus hence no masks or social distancing necessary. Once you reach your destination airport you show your test results on your phone to exit. Before your return flight you will do your morning test plus a further test at the airport. All airports should have their own entry testing in place and be COVID FREE. This is cost effective for airports who can pay for tests as their planes can then be full again and airports can become relaxed for eating and shopping as all fear removed. This system would future proof / prevent future pandemics and the resulting economic catastrophe. We all spend two hours at an airport, are security scanned and a 15 minute test is no hardship. Our health service can get back to normal without endless virus precautions and the huge cost of treating Covid and PPE. In China all foreign visitors have to undertake a Covid test at the airport prior to entry and due to their QR tracking system are virtually Covid free. QR is not against human rights it is to protect us and in a pandemic it is common sense, although the knock-on effect would be more personal accountability / responsible behaviour and less crime. If you are a law-abiding citizen who cares about the welfare of others you would do this willingly. Anyone who is here illegally should be offered a QR code, made legal and allowed to stay providing not a danger. Vagrants would have a QR code and be kept safe and off the streets, which morally we should be doing anyway. We should have designated Covid hospitals (the Nightingale hospitals) that are for Covid patients ONLY eradicating the fear of catching Covid in hospital. At least 40% of initial cases of Covid were caught IN hospital. By having specialist Covid hospitals all staff would become highly skilled as treating Covid day in day out. With a new disease learning fast is critical. The staff at Covid hospitals would work NOWHERE else. After a positive test if hospital care needed patients can be taken to one of these hospitals nationally via specific Covid ambulance, after recovery they do not leave until they have tested twice as Covid free. All other hospitals would then remain safe and COVID FREE. This system can be used for any future viral threats and pandemics.


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