Next Phase Of Covid Inquiry To Scrutinise Decision To Lock Down

The second part of the covid inquiry is set to begin.

It will scrutinise the decisions taken by former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his scientific advisers in the early days of the pandemic.

According to the BBC:

Until Christmas, the spotlight will be on key decisions made to try to control the spread of the virus, from lockdowns to border controls to face masks. But what is at stake for the ex-prime minister and his former team?

On 7 March 2020, England beat Wales in front of 82,000 in a Six Nations rugby match at Twickenham. Mr Johnson was in the crowd shaking hands with England captain Owen Farrell.

On the same day, newspaper front pages were full of one subject.

“Official: It’s an outbreak,” said the Sun. “Millions told: work at home to fight virus,” said the Daily Mail.

That weekend, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced a lockdown across the north of the country as Covid cases threatened to overwhelm hospitals.

In the UK, where only two deaths had been confirmed, the message was still to wash our hands and carry on – cautiously – with our lives.

The next week, horse racing’s Cheltenham Festival went ahead with 250,000 spectators, while 3,000 Atletico Madrid football fans flew to Liverpool for a Champions League match, when Spanish restrictions would have stopped them going to a match at home…

Hundreds of articles and books have already been written about the government’s early response to Covid. An investigation by MPs described it as one of the country’s worst public health failures.

Former Health Secretary Matt Hancock published his version of what happened, and then had thousands of his WhatsApp messages leaked to the Daily Telegraph.

Now though, the Covid-19 public inquiry, led by former judge Baroness Hallett, is opening its own investigation.

The first part of the inquiry, examining just the planning for a pandemic, finished hearing witnesses back in July, with a final report due in 2024.

This second part looks at the decisions made after Covid emerged with “particular scrutiny” of the period until 23 March 2020 when the UK went into full lockdown.


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