In a setback to Boris Johnson government, a finding by a group of MPs has concluded that UK’s failure to do more to stop the spread of Covid-19 early in the pandemic was one of the worst ever public health failures. The report added that the delay in imposing lockdown in a timely manner cost many lives.
In their report, the group of cross-party MPs said that ‘decisions on lockdowns and social distancing during the early weeks of the pandemic – and the advice that led to them – rank as one of the most important public health failures the United Kingdom has ever experienced.’
The report went on to add that failing to prioritise social care and discharging people from hospitals into care homes ‘led to many thousands of deaths.’
The report also slammed the Johnson government for its delay in imposing a robust border control well in time.
A British minister, meanwhile, has refused to apologise for the government’s failure. Cabinet Office Minister Stephen Barclay told Sky News, “We followed, throughout, the scientific advice. We got the vaccine deployed extremely quickly, we protected our NHS from the surge of cases.”
The UK had reported its first Covid case on 31 January 2020 but the government headed by Boris Johnson imposed the lockdown 23 March last year. This was largely due to Johnson’s stand on handling the pandemic through herd immunity.
This is not the first that Johnson is facing criticism for his handling of the pandemic. Earlier, one of his former advisors, Dominic Cummings, had told an inquiry committee that Johnson was a ‘joke’ as the prime minister. “The system was bad for many years before COVID. Me and others put into place work to try and improve the system in 2020 after the first wave. Unfortunately, the prime minister being the joke that he is has not pushed that work through.
“Now we have a joke prime minister and a joke leader of the Labour Party and we obviously need a new political system,” Cummings had said.
1.38 lakh people are reported to have died in the UK during the pandemic.