The UK government’s response to the COVID-19 epidemic combined some” big achievements with some big miscalculations”, a Parliament panel concluded in a report published on Tuesday.
The‘Coronavirus assignments learned to date’ common inquiry by cross-party MPs from the House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee and Science and Technology Committee is largely critical of the government’s early response to the epidemic and concludes that thousands of lives were lost due to detainments and miscalculations by ministers and their scientific counsels.
It also highlights the successes, praising the country’s vaccine rollout against COVID-19 as a” companion for the future”.
“The UK response has combined some big achievements with some big mistakes. It is vital to learn from both to ensure that we perform as best as we possibly can during the remainder of the pandemic and in the future,” said MPs Jeremy Hunt and Greg Clarke in a joint statement on behalf of both Commons committees.
“Our vaccine programme was boldly planned and effectively executed. Our test and trace programme took too long to become effective,” they said.
The government took the scientific advice seriously but there should have been further challenge from all to the early UK agreement that delayed a further comprehensive lockdown when countries like South Korea showed a different approach was possible, they said.
The 150- runner report contains 38 recommendations to the government and public bodies and draws on substantiation from over 50 substantiations, including Matt Hancock who was also UK Health Secretary and Dominic Cummings – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s close assistant in Downing Street at the time.
The common inquiry, which began in October 2020, examined six crucial areas of the response to COVID-19 the country’s preparedness for a epidemic; the use ofnon-pharmaceutical interventions similar as border controls, social distancing and lockdowns to control the epidemic; the use of the test, trace and insulate strategies; the impact of the epidemic on social care; the impact of the epidemic on specific communities; and the procurement and rollout of COVID-19 vaccines.
“The initial decision to delay a comprehensive lockdown — despite practice elsewhere in the world — reflected a fatalism about the spread of COVID that should have been robustly challenged at the time,” the findings note.
“The delays in establishing an adequate test, trace and isolate system hampered efforts to understand and contain the outbreak and it failed in its stated purpose to avoid lockdowns,” they add.
The inquiry concluded that some initiatives were examples of global best practices, but others represented mistakes and stressed that both areas must be reflected on to ensure that lessons are applied to better inform future responses to emergencies.
The inquiry added a special note of gratitude for the country’s National Health Service (NHS) and care workers, scientists, officials, workers and millions of volunteers. The UK’s daily figures released by the government on Monday recorded 40,224 COVID-19 infections and 28 more coronavirus deaths. The pandemic has claimed more than 150,000 lives in the UK and nearly 5 million worldwide