The British government has waited too long to impose a lockdown in the early days of the corona pandemic. As a result, she missed an opportunity to contain the disease early, leading to thousands of unnecessary deaths. That is the damning conclusion of a parliamentary report coming out today.
According to the researchers, the delay was due to ministers who blindly followed the recommendations of scientific advisors in those first three months without asking critical questions. As a result, they rejected the much more aggressive approach of some Asian countries, who immediately isolated cases and imposed a lockdown.
According to the joint report of the House of Commons science and health committees, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative government only gave in when the British health service threatened to be overwhelmed by the rapidly rising infection rates. The researchers call it “one of the biggest public health debacles” in British history.
“The government wanted to avoid a lockdown because of the enormous damage it would cause to the economy, normal health services and society,” the report said. “The lockdown should have come sooner, especially since other measures were not taken, such as isolating infections, source and contact investigations and strict border controls.” Instead, Prime Minister Johnson first announced a lockdown on March 23, 2020. That was two months after British government advisers had met for the first time about the corona crisis.
The UK parliamentary report aims to answer why Britain performed “significantly worse” than many other countries in the early days of the pandemic. The 150-page report is based on about 50 testimonies, including from former Health Secretary Matt Hancock and former government insider Dominic Cummings.
The coronavirus has been hit hard by the United Kingdom, with nearly 138,000 corona deaths since March last year. The investigative report anticipates a formal public inquiry into the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which Johnson says will not begin until next spring.
The commission of inquiry praised the government’s early focus on vaccinations as the ultimate way out of the pandemic and its decision to invest in vaccine development. These decisions led to Britain’s successful immunization program, with nearly 80 percent of people aged 12 and older now fully vaccinated.