The UK’s independent investigation into COVID-19 is due to launch in spring 2022. By then, this parliamentary report is the best assessment we are likely to have of the government’s response to the pandemic.
And put aside the success of the vaccine and former health secretary Matt hancock“target of 100,000 tests”, the conclusions of the multi-party commission are overwhelming.
The government‘s initial “fatalistic” approach was “a serious initial mistake”. The system of testing, tracing and isolation was “often chaotic” and “ultimately failed”. Thousands of deaths in retirement homes “could have been avoided”.
Many of these reviews reflect Dominique cummings‘s coruscating take on government failures. In May, he said: “Tens of thousands of people have died who did not need to die.
Unsurprisingly, the committee avoids echoing Mr. Cummings’ intensely personal attacks on the Prime Minister (“unfit for the post”), his wife (“cracking up”) and Mr. Hancock (“criminal and shameful behavior” ).
But they use strong language (“serious error”, “major deficiencies”) to describe how parts of the civil service were not prepared to face complex crises.
The committee of deputies is particularly critical of the functioning of the COBR, the government’s emergency committee.
And they argue that Public Health England (PHE) was “scientifically accomplished” but poor on delivery.
Of course, members of the government argue that many of these lessons have been learned for a long time. PHE has been removed and replaced by the UK Health Security Agency.
The policies of the Ministry of Health have changed completely. Mr. Cummings and Mr. Hancock have left their jobs.
The report recalls, however, that while the UK vaccine strategy has been executed perfectly, many massive mistakes have already been made.