Government accused of ‘misconduct’ over Covid pandemic handling

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The investigation into the coronavirus pandemic has accused the government of “misconduct in public office” and gross negligence in its handling of the crisis.

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The People’s COVID Inquiry, which heard evidence from February to the summer of this year, said there had been “serious governance failures” in Westminster, which contributed to tens of thousands of avoidable deaths.

It said the government had failed to act to protect key populations from increased risk, and that recommendations from previous pandemic planning exercises were ignored.


It said that considering the available evidence of the failures and the “serious consequences” for the public, bringing allegations of misconduct to public office should be considered.

The Keep Our NHS Public Campaign Group conducted the investigation in the absence of a formal investigation.

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The government has said it is committed to conducting a full public inquiry next spring because there are some lessons to be learned.

In a report published on Wednesday accusing the government of “serious governance failures”, the People’s COVID Inquiry said: “These contributed to thousands of avoidable deaths and suffering, and amounted to misconduct in public office.”

Its president, Michael Mansfield QC, said there had been a “disappointing failure in the face of seemingly obvious risks”.

He added that the investigation “identified the subject of behavior amounting to gross negligence by the government, whether investigated singly or collectively”.

He continued: “There was life lost and life devastated, which was observable and preventable from afar.

“From lack of preparation and coherent policy, through unnecessarily delayed, favored and wasteful purchases, to ministers themselves breaking the rules, misconduct is earth-shattering.”

The investigation found evidence from a number of witnesses and organisations, including academics, frontline workers and bereaved families.

Other findings include:

The government treated the bereaved families with disrespect and ignored their questions

It failed to address the severity of the pandemic before the March 2020 lockdown

– Deeper social inequality contributed to a more vulnerable population

– For those who need to isolate, financial support was not enough to effectively reduce the spread of infection

– Government delays in issuing advisories to health professionals, and advice to the public to rely on NHS 111, contributed to the death toll from the coronavirus

– There was, and is, “false reliance on vaccines alone”

– Government public health messages were often confused and contradictory

Mr Mansfield said there was no accountability, and this could not be compensated by the success of the vaccine rollout.

Joe Goodman, co-founder of the COVID-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group, which contributed to the investigation, said: “It is important that bereaved families are at the center of the upcoming investigation, and are heard at every turn, And this report evidences exactly why.

“The loss of our loved ones should be used to learn lessons and save lives – something that the government should be fully focused and dedicated to.”

The report will be formally launched on Wednesday morning at an event in Westminster.

This comes on the heels of a report from the families of Covid-19 bereaved families for the justice group, which set out the key areas it wants the official inquiry to investigate.

These include “mishandling” of the NHS 111 service, preparedness for the pandemic, and disproportionate effects on black, Asian and minority ethnic groups.

A government spokesman said: “Covid-19 is an unprecedented pandemic that has challenged health systems around the world.

“Thanks to our collective national effort, our preparedness plans and our frontline NHS workers, we have saved millions of lives, vaccinated millions and prevented the NHS from becoming overwhelmed.

“We prepared for a range of scenarios, and by deploying key elements of our flu preparedness plans we were able to develop new tools to rapidly tackle the virus such as establishing our national testing program and rolling out millions of vaccines. Doing.

“Every death from this virus is a tragedy and we have always said there are lessons to be learned from the pandemic, which is why we have committed to a full public inquiry in the spring.”


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