Coronavirus infection rates should be shown on weather bulletins alongside pollen counts and UV forecasts, a group of experts and politicians has said.
Broadcasters would be asked to display local infection rates on regular news and weather reports as part of a new blueprint for suppressing the virus.
Cross-party MPs are backing a new Covid-Secure UK plan which aims to imitate New Zealand’s successful virus control strategy and end the cycle of lockdowns.
The proposals include bolstering test and trace, widening screening to people in transport and other public facing roles and improving communication through regular No10 briefings and weather reports.
Testing should be in place at UK entry points and transport hubs, with masks and sanitiser provided for free.
Professor Martin McKee, a public health expert at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and a member of Independent SAGE, said: “The UK government’s approach is based on a false choice or ‘balance’ between saving lives and protecting jobs and the economy.
“This has given us the worst of all worlds, with some of the highest death rates and greatest decline in GDP anywhere.
“We are doing too little to break the chain of disease transmission while hitting people’s jobs and incomes.”
He said the plan provided an “achievable alternative” for the UK.
The move has also been backed by cross-party MPs, including Liberal Democrat Layla Moran, Tory MP Dr Dan Poulter, the SNP's Dr Philippa Whitford, Green MP Caroline Lucas MP and Labour's Clive Lewis.
Ms Moran said: “The Covid-Secure UK plan is based on the principle that by focusing on saving as many lives as possible in the immediate term, you will also save jobs and be able to open up the economy sustainably.
“The UK Government’s current plan stops at ‘getting R below 1’ but says nothing about what should happen next, as we saw in the first wave."
She added: “By not taking decisive action, this government is not saving as many lives as possible and also damaging the economy. We have a plan to change that.”