Updates

Press releases and updates from the APPG on Coronavirus are published here.

Vaccinate low-income countries before giving boosters to healthy over-50s in the UK - APPG on Coronavirus

The APPG on Coronavirus has called on the UK Government to prioritise donating vaccines  to the COVAX scheme ahead of giving boosters to healthy over-50s in the UK. The group does support a booster programme for the vulnerable and immuno-suppressed. 

MPs also warn that low global vaccination rates mean Covid-19 will continue to pose a serious threat to the UK’s public health, economy and security” and that inequitable access to vaccines poses a “serious risk of repeating the medical divide witnessed during the HIV/AIDS crisis”.

Calls for the prioritisation of donations to the COVAX scheme come as recent statistics show that the UK currently has 442 million vaccines on order, more than enough to double vaccinate the entire UK population three times over.


Covid cases in armed forces soar by over 1,400 as government accused of “neglecting” troops

Positive Covid cases in the armed forces have risen by their highest number so far this year, analysis of official figures by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Coronavirus has revealed.¹

The number of positive cases increased by 1,474 in the two weeks up to 23rd July, the steepest rise in 2021, according to Ministry of Defence statistics published today.

This brings the total number of positive cases in the armed forces since the beginning of the pandemic to 11,890, with 6,510 in the army, 3,408 in the navy, and 1,972 in the RAF.² 

The APPG on Coronavirus is calling on the government to take urgent action to boost vaccine uptake among troops and protect them from the virus, warning the rise in cases pose a threat to national security. It comes after recent figures revealed that 55,000 Armed Forces personnel have not yet been vaccinated against Covid-19.³


Border chaos leaving UK “dangerously exposed” to new Covid variants

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Coronavirus has urged the government to fix the chaotic scenes unfolding at airports and take urgent action to prevent new Covid variants entering the UK, ahead of the next review of the travel list expected to be announced tomorrow.

It comes following a warning from the Immigration Services Union, which represents border force staff, that passengers from red list countries who have transited via a green or amber list nation are still mixing with other arrivals. Border force staff shortages due to Covid are also reportedly leading to long queues at airports.

The APPG on Coronavirus published a report in May calling on the government to introduce urgent measures to reduce overcrowding in airports, step up checks to spot fake test certificates and prevent the mixing of arrivals from green, amber and red list countries. Recent research commissioned by the APPG has found that only 13% of positive tests from red list countries and 3% from amber list countries were checked for variants in the three weeks to 30th June.


Analysis reveals just 13% of positive Covid tests from red list countries checked for new variants - APPG on Coronavirus

Analysis reveals just 13% of positive Covid tests from red list countries checked for new variants  

  • Commons Library research reveals “staggering” fall in PCR tests for red and amber list countries being sequenced for new variants.

  • Analysis of NHS test and trace data estimates just 13% of positive tests from red list countries and 3% from amber list countries were checked for variants in three weeks to 30th June.

  • Government accused of “opening the floodgates” to Covid variants amid rising concern over Beta mutation..


ONS statistics show shadow cast by long Covid is “even worse than feared”

Around one in sixteen (6.2%) UK adults have experienced long Covid at some point during the pandemic, ONS data published today has revealed.

Of those who may have experienced long COVID, almost a quarter (22%) reported their household finances had been affected by the pandemic while three in ten (30%) reported experiencing moderate to severe depressive symptoms in the last 2 weeks.

It comes after a cross-party letter from over 60 MPs and peers to the Health Secretary Sajid Javid, coordinated by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus, called for a “comprehensive strategy” to address the threat posed by long Covid to the NHS and economy. 


Figures reveal 5,200 armed forces personnel are self-isolating and almost 55,000 still not vaccinated

Figures reveal 5,200 armed forces personnel are self-isolating and almost 55,000 still not vaccinated


MPs demand “urgent strategy” on long Covid in letter to Sajid Javid

Over 60 MPs and peers from eight parties have written to Health Secretary Sajid Javid demanding a “comprehensive strategy” to address the threat posed by long Covid to the NHS and economy.

The cross-party letter, coordinated by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Coronavirus warns that the decision to lift restrictions on 19 July at a time when Covid cases are already rising risks placing a “large and unsustainable burden” on the health service. It also emphasises that current rehabilitation services for long Covid patients are already “overstretched and under-resourced,” and that the current increase in case numbers will increase waiting lists even further.


PM warned dropping restrictions will expose more to "devastating impact" of long Covid

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus has warned that the government’s plans to lift almost all remaining restrictions, including rules on social distancing and mask wearing, on July 19 risks leaving many more people with long Covid.

It comes after the latest ONS figures revealed an estimated 962,000 people in the UK have long Covid, of which 385,000 have had the condition for one year or more. 92% of those with long Covid were not hospitalised when they first caught coronavirus, and 242,000 were under the age of 34.

The Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty today admitted we do not yet know whether the vaccine weakens or breaks the link with long Covid, and that more data is expected to come out on this in the coming months.


Sajid Javid warned NHS could face 4,000 long Covid cases a day as waiting lists for treatment grow

  • BMA warns MPs that UK could face 4,000 long Covid cases a day in three months’ time
  • Waiting lists for long Covid treatment growing across all regions of UK, particularly those hardest hit by pandemic.
  • Rehabilitation services risk being “overwhelmed” as demand for long Covid treatment grows.

Digitise test results and upgrade e-gates at airports to defend against new Covid variants

  • Cross-party group of MPs demands e-gate upgrades at airports must be implemented before international travel is opened up further, to reduce queues and waiting times in arrival halls. 

  • Digital ‘Covid Green Pass’ for international travel should include test results to reduce the need for paper documents at UK airports.

  • Government urged to consider measures to reduce the cost of tests such as a VAT exemption or price caps.

  • MPs warn the government must learn lessons from the rapid rise in cases of the Delta variant and “ensure its border policy is watertight.”