A year after the coronavirus outbreak jolted communities and medical infrastructures across the world, people in the United Kingdom continue demanding a "public inquiry" into Britain's handling of the Covid-19 situation, right from the lockdown in March-April 2020 till date, with the country having recorded 125,690 deaths from the outbreak, from a total of 4,268,821 positive cases, 126,000 of which have been recorded within the last 24 hours. Several prominent people representatives from medical, education, civil service, research, and other fraternities have now stressed that the Boris Johnson government must initiate the inquiry.
President of the Royal College of Physicians in Britain Professor Andrew Goddard said that the inquiry, if launched, will only make people aware of the preparedness that the country needs to have to face such pandemics in the future. The inquiry he detailed must "Look at how prepared we were and the decisions we took in terms of very practical things, such as stocks of PPE, the size of the NHS workforce and how many critical care beds we have … [as well as] the greater impact of Covid-19 in the UK because of the state of public health. [sic]”
"There is an urgent need for a system-level approach to address the issues that #COVID19 has created to better protect and safeguard our medical workforce for the future."@bodgoddard and Mumtaz Patel on the changing face of medical professionalism. Read https://t.co/AvaQb5TPh1 pic.twitter.com/slaAtcmBY9— The Lancet (@TheLancet) March 16, 2021
Prime Minister Boris Johnson last year in July had assured masses in the UK that an "independent inquiry" will be set up to better understand where the tackling of pandemic went wrong, and what the UK as a country needs to do in order to face it better. However, a leading US daily on Tuesday reported that Downing Street has repeatedly shirked initiating the process that many have considered to be an "essential lesson to be learned from the coronavirus pandemic."
However, a spokesperson of the Johnson government said that it is committed to protecting the medical and health care services that cover all citizens of the UK. "We are focusing on protecting the National Health Services and saving lives. It is now the right time to devote huge amounts of official time to an inquiry. So we can look back in the future, analyse and reflect on all aspects of this Covid-19 pandemic," he admitted.
An expert in infectious disease epidemiology from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), Prof Andrew Hayward said "Many would argue that much of the aftermath could have been avoided if better decisions had been made earlier. These decision-making processes, therefore, need to be monitored and I think they are only likely to become completely clear if people are compelled to give evidence."
In yet another development, the families who have suffered the wrath of Covid-19 in the UK, under the banner of Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice have now said that they will take legal action forcing ministers to launch the inquiry. The families allege that the government was unprepared and has "serially failed to take reasonable steps to minimise the impact that the pandemic has left, and this has claimed many lives unnecessarily."
Tomorrows front page from the @guardian— Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice UK (@CovidJusticeUk) March 16, 2021
It's time for answers for the bereaved, for our loved ones, for all the country.
It's time for @BorisJohnson to name the date for the start of an independent, judge-led statutory public inquiry. pic.twitter.com/tcPNLXEgzG
Co-founder of the families group said people are awaiting answers for “Did the Prime Minister do everything he could to prevent it? Could his government have been better prepared or did it ignore warnings? Were decisions made which cost lives rather than saving them?" and added that an inquiry will clear the air further.
The general secretary of Unison, Christinea McAnea, which represents 1.3 million medical staff in the country said the situation demands an "independent, judge-led public inquiry." Referring to the shortage of medical and PPE kits at many care homes and hospitals during the pandemic, McAnea said "There are key questions to answer about why care homes were left so vulnerable, frontline staff were without safety kit and testing was abandoned in the early stages.”