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UK Covid Inquiry: Government Accused Of Giving ‘very Little’ Advance Thought To Lockdown And Being Too Focused On Flu – Live

Government gave ‘very little thought’ in advance to prospect of lockdown being needed in pandemic, says inquiry counselAfter a short break, Hugo Keith KC, counsel for the inquiry, is continuing his opening statement.

He says “very little thought” was given ahead of Covid as to whether a lockdown might be needed if a pandemic struck the UK, and how it might be implemented.

Extraordinary though it may seem, given that it’s a word that’s forever seared in the nation’s consciousness, there was very little debate pre-pandemic of whether a lockdown might prove to be necessary in the event of a runaway virus, let alone how a lockdown could be avoided.

Very little thought was given to how, if it proved to be necessary, how something as complex, difficult and damaging as a national lockdown could be put in place at all.

Equally, there appears to have been a failure to think through the potentially massive impact on education and on the economy in trying to control a runaway virus in this way.

He again suggests ‘“complacency” was a factor.

Was there an element of complacency based on our recent experiences, including the ranking in the Global Health Security Index? Or our response to swine flu in 2009 and the UK’s undoubted successes in ensuring Sars and Mers did not spread?

Did our experience of the 2009 swine flu lead to concerns about overreacting?

He asks whether an agency should have had full control over emergency planning. He goes on:

Perhaps there should be a central leadership position accountable to parliament, with responsibility for whole system preparedness, resilience and response.

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