UK may ‘not have been well prepared at all’ for pandemic, hears new Covid inquiry – – Our News, Your Views

UK may ‘not have been well prepared at all’ for pandemic, hears new Covid inquiry

The UK was not “very well prepared at all” to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, the lead lawyer for the government inquiry said as a public hearing opened.

Lead counsel Hugo Keith KC, questioned whether the UK was ready to protect the public enough as leaders had promised.

Heather Hallett, chairwoman of the UK’s Covid-19 inquiry, promised that those affected by the pandemic would “always be at the heart of the inquiry” as she launched the public hearing, reports RTE.

A retired Court of Appeal judge has welcomed a “decent vigil” by grieving relatives outside the building as he vowed to conduct the thorough investigation they deserve.

In his opening statement, Mr Keith said that close to the start of the pandemic in March 2020, the UK Department of Health and Social Care, along with the three devolved governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, published a Covid-19 Action Plan “”setting out how they planned to tackle the coronavirus outbreak”, reports RTE.

“The plan stated that the United Kingdom was well prepared to respond in a way that offered substantial protection to the public. Whether that was actually the case will be examined in module one. Even at this stage before hearing the evidence it is apparent that we might not have been very well prepared at all,” reports RTE.

Members of the Covid-19 campaign group Bereaved Families for Justice lined up outside holding photos of loved ones, expressing frustration that “key evidence has been left out of sharing”.

Ms Hallett said that she had set out an “ambitious” timetable for the inquiry, adding: “To conduct the kind of thorough investigation the people of the United Kingdom deserve takes time and a great deal of preparation,” reports RTE.

“If I am to achieve my aim of making timely recommendations that may save lives and reduce suffering in the future, I had no choice. I know that there are those who feel the inquiry has not sufficiently recognised their loss or listened to them in the way they feel appropriate, but I hope they will better understand as the inquiry progresses the very difficult balance I have had to strike. I hope they will understand when they see the results of the work we are doing that I am listening to them. Their loss will be recognised,” she added reports RTE.

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