UK Covid-19 inquiry — part one

A collection of climate stories mostly

Andrew Howells
4 min readAug 25


Perhaps we’ve all heard enough about Covid-19 to last a lifetime?

Jaundiced by the whole affair, my only interest of late was in the battle Baroness Hallett, the Chairperson of the inquiry had, to access Boris Johnson’s WhatsApp messages.

The government finally lost its high court challenge to prevent Johnson’s messages, notebooks and diaries being read in full. They didn’t want to hand over irrelevant content apparently. Hallett argued it was up to her to decide what was relevant or not.

Shame on them and me for being distracted by this fallacious argument when the real story so far, is the conclusion to the first phase of the inquiry and whether the death of 228,000 British citizens could have been prevented?

69 politicians, civil servants and scientists were asked about the UK’s planning for a pandemic and the readiness of our healthcare system.

How prepared were we as a nation and could we have ever known what was about to happen in March 2020?

I’m grateful to openDemocracy who produced this video. They followed proceedings every day of the inquiry and interviewed attendees including the Royal Society for Public Health, the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice and the Trades Union Congress.

The closing statement at the end of this first session by the British Medical Association leaves no room for wiggle.

The UK entered the pandemic with repeated failures in planning and preparedness.

In 2004, a global report warned about coronaviruses specifically, reminding everyone that flu was not the only potential pandemic threat the country might face. But the government chose not to add them to the risk register, a list of the most serious issues facing the UK.

Jeremy Hunt, the former health secretary told the inquiry that the UK hadn’t learnt lessons from Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea, which had experienced earlier outbreaks of two other coronaviruses — Sars and Mers.

These countries had been quick to introduce contact tracing and quarantine in order to isolate cases when Covid first…