A public inquiry into the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic by the government is to be held in the UK in 2022. However, concerns are being raised that spring 2022 was “simply too late to begin” the inquiry.
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson told MPs that an independent Coronavirus public inquiry will be held in spring 2022.
He said, the government was “fully committed to learning the lessons at every stage of this crisis”. The inquiry will place “the state’s actions under the microscope”, he added.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmern asked the reasons why this inquiry could not be started earlier. The PM said, this Coronavirus inquiry could not “inadvertently distract” those within government advisers and the NHS who were continuing to deal with this Covid-19 situation.
He added that because of new virus variant threat and possible winter surge in infection, spring could be the right time to hold it.
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“Should these [variants] prove highly transmissible and elude the protection of our vaccines, they would have the potential to cause even greater suffering than we endured in January.”
“There is in any case a high likelihood of a surge this winter when the weather assists the transmission of all respiratory diseases and when the pressure on our NHS is most acute.” He said, the “right moment” for it would be spring 2022.
Jo Goodman, co-founder of Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice said, it was a “huge relief” to hear the prime minister committing to the inquiry.
She said any inquiry “must involve bereaved families from the start, helping to choose the chair as well as determining the terms of reference.”
But spring 2022 was “simply too late to begin” the inquiry.
“A rapid review in summer 2020 could have saved our loved ones who died in the second wave in winter.”
The Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice UK group has been meeting with PM since last year. It has been lobbying with PM for the launch of independent investigation in pandemic.
The group has been calling for the inquiry to start this summer, saying that learning lessons from the pandemic “is critical to saving lives now and in the future”.
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