Public inquiry into Covid response by spring 2022

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said his government has an obligation to examine its action rigorously learn the lessons at every stage of the pandemic, reports Asian Lite Newsdesk

Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday announced that an independent public inquiry into the government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic will begin in spring 2022.

“Amid such tragedy, the state has an obligation to examine its actions as rigorously and as candidly as possible” and “learn every lesson for the future”, Johnson told lawmakers at the House of Commons, the lower house of the British Parliament, Xinhua news agency reported.

Britain was the first country in Europe to pass the grim mark of 100,000 coronavirus-related deaths. More than 127,000 people have died within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test since the pandemic began last year, while over 150,000 deaths have mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate, according to official figures.

“This inquiry must be able to look at the events of the last year in the cold light of day and identify the key issues that will make a difference for the future. Free to scrutinize every document to hear from all the key players and analyze and learn from the breadth of our response,” he said.

“That’s the right way, I think, to get the answers that the people of this country deserve and to ensure that our United Kingdom is better prepared for any future pandemic,” he added.

Johnson said his government would work closely with the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in setting up the inquiry.

Considering the potential threat of new COVID-19 variants and a potential winter surge, Johnson said he expected the “right moment” for the inquiry to begin in the spring of next year. Johnson also announced that a commission on COVID-19 commemoration would be set up.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson

“This national endeavor above party politics will remember the loved ones we have lost, honor the heroism of those who have saved lives and the courage of frontline workers who have kept our country going,” he said.

More than 35.5 million people have been given the first jab of a coronavirus vaccine, according to the latest official figures.

However, experts have warned that despite progress in vaccine rollout, Britain is “still not out of the woods” amid concerns over new variants, particularly those first emerged in South Africa, Brazil and India, and the third wave of the pandemic on the European continent.

On Monday, Queen Elizabeth II has announced a series of bills as the UK government pledged to “level up” the country while recovering from the pandemic crisis.

She was speaking at the House of Lords, the upper house of the British Parliament, to set out the government’s legislative agenda for new parliamentary session.

The Queen said that the government’s priority is to “deliver a recovery from the pandemic” which will “level up opportunities across all parts of the United Kingdom, supporting jobs, businesses and economic growth.”

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the government “won’t settle for going back to the way things were.”

He promised to end the “criminal waste of talent” in parts of the UK by spreading opportunity more evenly.

A man wearing a face mask cycles past the Francis Crick Institute Vaccination Centre in London,UK , Britain, March 18, 2021. (Xinhua/Han Yan/IANS)

“We intend to unite and level up across the whole of our United Kingdom because we one nation Conservatives understand this crucial point – that you will find flair and imagination and enthusiasm and genius distributed evenly across this country while opportunity is not,” BBC quoted Johnson as saying at the House of Lords.

He said there is a need to change that because “it is not just a moral and social disgrace, it is an economic mistake. It is a criminal waste of talent.”

“And though we cannot for one moment minimise the damage that Covid has done – the loss of learning, the NHS backlogs, the courts delays, the massive fiscal consequences – we must use this opportunity to achieve a national recovery so that jabs, jabs jabs becomes jobs, jobs, jobs,” he said.

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