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The slowness with which the United Kingdom decreed a first lockdown in the face of the spread of the coronavirus last year was a serious mistake stemming from the failure to challenge collective thinking, British MPs concluded in a report published Tuesday.
A damning parliamentary report, released Tuesday, October 12, claims the UK government made “big mistakes” and delayed taking action at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, believing it to be “one of the most major public health failures “in the UK.
“The containment and social distancing decisions made in the first weeks of the pandemic – and the advice leading up to them – are one of the biggest public health failures the UK has ever seen.” , said the deputies.
The United Kingdom is one of the countries most affected in Europe by the coronavirus with almost 138,000 deaths.
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The study, carried out by two parliamentary committees after months of hearings, explains that Boris Johnson’s conservative government, following the advice of scientists, has adopted a “gradual and gradual approach” rather than quickly instituting lockdown.
Until March 23, ministers “only (sought to) moderate the rate of infection” in the population rather than completely halt its spread, hoping that collective immunity would develop.
“If there are lessons to be learned, the government is ready to do it”
On Sky News, Minister Steve Barclay explained that the government had “followed scientific advice” and “made decisions to act quickly”, citing the vigorous vaccination campaign.
Regarding the decision to establish containment, “at the time, it was feared that if we confined too early, (the population) would not agree to remain confined for a long period”, which was ultimately not the case. case, he admitted.
The minister refused to apologize but assured that “if there are lessons to be learned, the government is ready to do so”.
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The report released Tuesday notes that scientists advising the government were “unanimous” on March 13 “that measures to completely suppress the spread of Covid-19 will cause a second peak.”
It is “astonishing” that it took them so long to realize that full containment was necessary, say parliamentarians, even with overwhelming evidence, such as a model from Imperial College London who claimed that ‘an unchecked epidemic could lead to 500,000 deaths, showing that containment was “inevitable”.
Success of the vaccination campaign
Parliamentarians also lambasted the decision not to test elderly people discharged from hospitals before they returned to their retirement homes, which helped to spread the epidemic. They claimed that some measures (10 p.m. curfew for pubs, ban on outdoor children’s sports) were not scientifically based.
While pointing to failures and delays, the report highlights the success of the vaccination campaign which began in December 2020. More than 78% of those over 12 are now fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
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“The UK’s response has combined big mistakes and big successes,” such as the immunization program, Tory MPs Greg Clark and Jeremy Hunt, chairpersons of the two committees responsible for the report, said in a joint statement, calling for “learn the lessons”.
For Jonathan Ashworth, in charge of health issues at Labor, the main opposition party, the conclusions of this report are “overwhelming” and show that “monumental mistakes” were made.
A public inquiry into the government’s handling of the pandemic is scheduled for 2022.