The report, a preliminary assessment by the British Parliament’s Health and Social Care, and Science and Technology committees, said the United Kingdom’s COVID response was slow and “reactive”.
One of the biggest failures of the government’s approach was an early policy of trying to manage the spread of Covid at the start of the pandemic, not stop it from spreading completely, the lawmakers said.
He also criticized delayed lockdowns, failures in the UK’s contact-tracing programme, and a lack of attention to the most vulnerable, particularly in the social care sector and at-risk communities – namely blacks, Asians and other ethnic minorities. The report also noted that there was little interest in learning from the experiences of other countries, such as those in East Asia that were the first to deal with the pandemic.
The 150-page report is the result of a cross-party investigation, which began in October 2020, to examine the UK’s initial response to the pandemic. It contains 38 recommendations for government and public bodies, and is based on evidence from more than 50 witnesses and 400 written submissions.
Herd immunity and delayed lockdown
The report said the government – backed by scientific advisers – made a “serious initial error” by not proceeding vigorously to contain the spread of the virus during the first three months of the pandemic, adopted by several East and Southeast Asian countries. One approach.
“It is in practice to accept that herd immunity from infection was the inevitable result,” the report said, with the potential result in hundreds of thousands of deaths.
Britain has reported 138,167 deaths from Covid-19 since the pandemic began, more than any other country in Western Europe, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Other countries and places in Europe and Asia, including China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand and South Korea, implemented strict border controls, social distancing and early lockdowns as cases emerged – some as early as January 2020 – to contain the pandemic. for .
The report said there was a degree of “groupthink” between official scientific advisers and the government in which ministers did little to question the advice they had received and meant the UK was “not open to approaches elsewhere”. ”
This led to a delay in the nationwide lockdown, which was imposed in the UK on March 23, 2020.
‘Test and Trace’
Another area that the report has been sharply criticized for is the UK’s “Test and Trace” programme. The report described Public Health England’s efforts as “poor” and concluded that the program ultimately “failed”.
“Despite being one of the first countries in the world to develop a test for COVID in January 2020, the United Kingdom has been able to translate that scientific leadership into operational success in establishing an effective test and trace system during the first year of the pandemic. failed,” the report said.
The report said stopping community testing early in the pandemic was a “serious mistake” and that national public bodies failed to share data between national and local governments with each other.
“A country with world-class expertise in data analysis should not have faced the biggest health crisis in a hundred years with virtually no data to analyze,” the report said.
“What was being achieved in other countries, particularly in East Asia, was of little interest in the early weeks of the pandemic,” the report said. “It was an unforgivable oversight.”
The report said that despite the large amount of taxpayer money for the “Test and Trace” programme, it was not fully disbursed to prevent additional lockdowns and “whether it is the success of the Vaccine Taskforce and the NHS Immunization Programme”. Were it not for this, it is likely that further lockdown restrictions will be required in the summer of 2021.”
The report also criticized the UK government’s lack of attention to the most vulnerable, particularly the social care sector and at-risk communities, namely Black, Asian and other ethnic minorities.
“It is telling that the first ten NHS workers to die from COVID-19 were from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds, and the evidence confirms that the impact of COVID-19 on this segment of the workforce has been significant,” the report said. said.
Lawmakers said it was a “mistake” to allow patients to be transferred from hospitals to care homes “without adequate testing or rigorous isolation” shown in places like Germany and Hong Kong.
“This, along with untested staff bringing infections from the community to homes, resulted in many thousands of deaths that could have been avoided,” the report said.
In its recommendations, the report said the government should ensure that its “flatten” agenda includes “specific policies to reduce health inequalities, with a particular focus on ensuring that black, Asian and Certain groups, including people from minority ethnic backgrounds, do not continue to face unequal health outcomes.”
The report noted that one area of the UK’s pandemic performance that was successful was its rapid vaccine development and effective deployment.
“The government currently recognizes that a vaccine will be a long-term path out of the pandemic and supports the research and development of multiple COVID-19 vaccines,” the report said.
It said the program “has been one of the most effective initiatives in the history of UK science and public administration” and that the result is “millions of lives will ultimately be saved.”
Credit : www.cnn.com