A scathing report by the UK Parliament published on Tuesday (12) accuses the government of Boris Johnson and his scientific advisers of “serious mistakes” and delays in the initial management of the pandemic, denouncing “one of the greatest failures of public health” of the parents.
The document, published by two parliamentary committees after months of sessions, arrives before the start, scheduled for next year, of an independent public investigation into the executive branch’s management of the coronavirus.
In its 151 pages, it explains how, at first, action against covid-19 was established based on the behavior of the flu virus and disregarding lessons learned from previous epidemics, such as Ebola and SARS.
Thus, the government “deliberately” adopted a “gradual and progressive strategy” rather than blunt measures.
This “bad” decision was motivated by the advice of scientific advisors, according to the investigation, which was prepared with the participation of different parties, including the conservatives in power.
With 138,000 deaths, the United Kingdom is one of the most affected countries in Europe by covid-19, which raised many questions about the reasons for this.
Based on a large vaccination campaign, with 78% of those over 12 years old currently being inoculated, in July, almost all of the sanitary measures, including the use of masks in closed environments and social distancing, were suspended.
Today, the UK registers about 35,000 new cases daily and around 100 deaths a day.
– ‘One of the biggest failures’ –
According to the report, until the imposition of the first confinement on March 23, 2020, the government “only tried to moderate the rate of contagion” among the population, rather than completely stopping the spread of covid-19.
According to lawmakers, the strategy was “wrong” and caused a greater number of deaths. Furthermore, politicians point out that it is “amazing” that the government took so long to realize that complete confinement was necessary.
“The decisions regarding confinement and social distancing taken in the first weeks of the pandemic – and the advice that resulted in them – constitute one of the greatest failures in the history of public health in the UK,” the parliamentarians say.
– ‘Lessons to Learn’ –
Nevertheless, the document also praises some “great successes”, such as the vaccination program that developed rapidly from 8 December.
“It is essential to draw lessons to be as competent as possible in the rest of the pandemic and in the future,” said the chairs of the two commissions, Jeremy Hunt and Greg Clark, in a joint statement.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced in May that an independent investigation will assess his government’s performance “with the greatest rigor and frankness possible, seeking to learn all the lessons for the future.”
But he rejected it starting before the second quarter of 2022, arguing that the investigation could hinder the country’s response to the pandemic.
In response to the parliamentary report, Minister Steve Barclay, responsible for coordinating government action, told Sky News that “there are indeed lessons to be learned”, but refused to apologize and insisted that the Executive followed the prevailing scientific advice.
“I think there was a rigorous debate between the government and science, but, certainly, [a pandemia de covid-19] it was unprecedented, so it was a developing situation for the scientists themselves”, he stressed.
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