British government made “serious mistakes” in pandemic management, says parliamentary report

A strong parliamentary report released Tuesday accused Boris Johnson’s government and his scientific advisers of "serious mistakes" and delays in the initial management of the pandemic, denouncing "one of the biggest failures of public health" from the country.

This report, published by two parliamentary committees after months of sessions, comes before the start, scheduled for next year, of an independent public investigation into the management of the coronavirus by the executive.

In its 151 pages, it explains how at first the action against covid-19 was determined based on the behavior of the flu virus and dismissing the lessons learned from previous epidemics such as Ebola or SARS.

Thus, the government "deliberately" adopted a "gradual and progressive strategy" instead of forceful measures.

This "bad" The decision was motivated by the advice of scientific advisers, says the research, prepared with the participation of different parties, including conservatives in power.

With 138,000 dead, the United Kingdom is one of the most affected countries in Europe by covid-19, which raised many questions about why.

Relying on an extensive vaccination campaign, with 78% of those over 12 years of age currently inoculated, in July practically all sanitary measures were lifted, including the use of indoor masks and the maintenance of physical distance.

Today it registers about 35,000 new daily cases and around 100 deaths per day.

"One of the biggest failures"

According to the report, until the establishment of the first confinement on March 23, 2020, the government "he only sought to moderate the speed of infections" among the population, instead of completely halting the spread of COVID-19.

This approach resulted "wrong" and it caused a greater number of deaths, affirm the legislators, in whose opinion the fact of not carrying out tests to the elderly discharged from hospitals before returning them to nursing homes also increased mortality.

It is "amazing" that it took them so long to realize that a complete confinement was necessary, say the parliamentarians, noting that a statistical model developed by Imperial College London predicted up to 500,000 deaths if the epidemic was not contained.

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"Decisions on lockdown and social distancing made in the early weeks of the pandemic – and the advice that sparked them – are one of the biggest public health failures the UK has ever known", assure the deputies.

"If we had been more open to the approaches of other countries, we could have adopted a better approach more quickly", considered the conservative Jeremy Hunt, former Minister of Health and president of one of the two commissions, referring to the contact tracing programs developed in Asian countries.

"Lessons to learn"

However, the report also celebrates some "big hits", like the vaccination program that quickly rolled out from December 8.

"It is essential to draw lessons to be as competent as possible in the rest of the pandemic and in the future"Hunt and Greg Clark said in a joint statement.

The commissions they chair took statements from a number of personalities, including Johnson’s controversial former adviser, Dominic Cummings, who lashed out at the prime minister’s management of the crisis.

The Conservative leader has also come under fire for delaying the start of the independent investigation.

Johnson announced in May that it will examine his government’s performance "with the greatest rigor and frankness possible and seeking to learn all the lessons for the future".

But he refused to have it start before next spring, arguing that the investigation could hamper the country’s response to the pandemic.

In response to the report, Minister Steve Barclay, in charge of coordinating government action, told the Sky News channel that "if there are lessons to be learned, we are willing to do so"But he declined to apologize, insisting that the executive followed prevailing scientific advice.

"I think there was a rigorous government debate with science, but of course this was unprecedented, so it was a developing situation for the scientists themselves.", he stressed.


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