Labour's hard left have been promoting the concept of 'zero Covid' for several months, citing countries such as New Zealand and South Korea as successful examples of the approach. Labour MPs have been keen to make comparisons with other countries throughout the pandemic, but such comparisons are often highly selective and disingenuous.
New Zealand is sparsely populated compared to the UK and achieved its impressive Covid figures by completely shutting itself off from the world. It's hard to imagine that the hard left would want to close our borders - after all they don't believe in borders. In any case, Britain under its existing government appears incapable of stopping migrants landing on our beaches in dinghies let alone closing airports.
South Korea deployed a highly effective test and trace system, aspects of which it had learned from the MERS outbreak in 2015. However, the methods involved would have serious implications for civil liberties in a country such as ours. South Korean health officials would track movements of infected individuals by using CCTV footage, bank card records and GPS data from vehicles and mobile phones. Mobile phones would also be used to track individuals who were in self-isolation, ensuring they didn't venture outside their homes.
Of course such an assault on individual privacy and liberty would not be frowned upon by the likes of Jeremy Corbyn, Diane Abbott and Richard Burgon, the latter of whom has been the most vocal exponent of 'zero Covid'. For such a densely populated and libertarian state as ours, the army would have to be deployed on the streets to stamp out free movement. Again, no such problems there for the hard left. They may despise the British Army, but make no mistake if the Great Leader was PM they would have been utilised by now.
Regardless of what might have been, the term 'zero Covid' is actually a misnomer. While there have been days in which a handful of affected countries have recorded zero cases, none of them have remained virus-free. South Korea registered 110 new cases in the last 24 hours, while New Zealand recorded nine. Zero Covid is a pipe dream, unless we want to live in a state like North Korea.
Burgon raised the issue during yesterday's Covid debate in the Commons.
'Independent Sage' who Burgon refers to in his question is a group chaired by Sir David King, chief scientific advisor to the Blair and Brown governments. There is little if anything independent or non-partisan about that organisation.