Parliamentary inquiry into government handling of covid

The UK government handling of the covid pandemic in 2020 and 2021 was one of the “most important public health failures” in UK history. That was the judgment of the first authoritative inquiry into the pandemic conducted by two House of Commons committees over 15 months.

And their conclusions largely confirmed the often repeated and reported criticisms of the Johnson government’s actions on covid over 18 months since March 2020 – a total of 77 conclusions and 38 recommendations in 6 key areas:
– pandemic preparedness prior to 2020
– lockdowns and social distancing
– testing and tracing
– the impact of the crisis on social care and at-risk communities
– the rollout of the vaccines.

Among the findings:
– prior to 2020, government experts were fixated on influenza and did not see coronaviruses as a threat to the UK
– the government initially adopted a “deliberate policy” that “amounted in practice” to seeking herd immunity – a decision to manage, rather than suppress, infections which proved fatal for tens of thousands.
– the abandonment of community testing on 12 March 2020 was a “seminal failure” and “cost many lives”.
– the Test and Trace system “failed to make a significant enough impact on the course of the pandemic to justify the level of public investment it received”.
– social care was overlooked by the government throughout the pandemic and minority ethnic communities experienced higher levels of death in its early phase.

Two days after the report’s public release, Health Minister Sajid Javid said he had not read it in detail.
And it’s unclear if and when the government will hold an independent public inquiry into the pandemic although Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he intends to launch one in the first half of 2022.

The Parliamentary inquiry began separately in two select committees starting in March 2020 and then jointly from October 2020 through June 2021.
The Commons science and technology and the health and social care committees were chaired by two former Conservative government ministers and included MPs from all three major parties at Westminster – Conservatives, Labour and Scottish National Party. They released their report in September 2021 after testimony from more than 50 witnesses and 400 written statements and accounts.

“Worst ever public health failure” – The Guardian
Herd immunity was government covid response –Independent
Covid missteps tragic – New York Times
The joint Parliamentary Committee Report
Health Minister Sajid Javid
Government public inquiry?