"This is one of the biggest public health failures in the UK."
This conclusion of a study carried out by two parliamentary committees after months of hearings in the United Kingdom is final for the government of Boris Johnson.
According to these commissions, the government was slow to act at the start of the pandemic.
Until March 23, ministers "only sought to moderate the rate of infection" in the population rather than completely stop its spread, hoping that herd immunity would develop.
On Sky News, Minister Steve Barclay explained that the government had "followed scientific advice".
The report does acknowledge that scientists advising the government were "unanimous" on March 13 "that measures to completely suppress the spread of Covid-19 would cause a second peak.
One of the most affected countries in Europe
But according to parliamentarians, it is "astonishing" that it took them so long to realize that full containment was necessary even when they had 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". But Steve Barclay said that “at the time, there was concern that if we confined too early, the population would not agree to remain confined for a long period of time, which ultimately was not the case. The United Kingdom is one of the countries most affected in Europe by the coronavirus with almost 138,000 deaths.
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 10 p.m. curfews for pubs, banning outdoor children's sports activities, were not scientifically based.
However, the committees do not only paint a gloomy picture and recognize some positive points, such as the drastic vaccination.
Beyond this report, a public inquiry into the government's management of the pandemic is also planned for 2022.