The UK’s early handling of the coronavirus pandemic has been described as one of the nation’s worst ever public health failures, according to a parliamentary report.
Endorsed by its scientists, the government initially aimed to fight the pandemic by achieving herd immunity by infection, said the inquiry.
This resulted in the delaying of lockdown measures, bringing about avoidable deaths.
Led by two former Conservative ministers, the 151-page report “Coronavirus: lessons learned to date,” containing contributions from all parties, scientists and NHS officials, found that the “slow and gradualist” adopted by the UK saw the country fare “significantly worse” than others in the bout against COVID-19.
Prime minister Boris Johnson announced complete lockdown rules on 23rd March 2020, two months after the government’s Sage committee had first held crisis talks over the virus.
Although the UK became one of the first nations to develop a test for Covid in January 2020, Britain “squandered” this lead and exposed the “major deficiencies in the machinery of government.”
However, the report praised the vaccination programme, describing it as “one of the most effective initiatives in UK history.”
In response to the report, a government spokesperson said: “We have never shied away from taking quick and decisive action to save lives and protect our NHS, including introducing restrictions and lockdowns.
“Thanks to a collective national effort, we avoided NHS services becoming overwhelmed.”
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