Boris Johnson Commits To Independent Inquiry Into UK Coronavirus Response

Ned Simons
·2-min read

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Boris Johnson has for the first time said there will be an “independent inquiry” into the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking during PMQs on Wednesday, the prime minister said he wanted to “learn the lessons of the pandemic in the future”.

“Certainly we will have an independent inquiry into what happened,” he said.

But the prime minister did not give a timeframe of when any inquiry would be set up.

Johnson committed to a holding the inquiry in principle in response to a questions from acting Lib Dem leader Ed Davey.

“Under this PM we suffered one of the worst death rates in the world and Europe’s worst death rate for health and care workers,” Davey said.

Johnson also told MPs the government was doing “absolutely everything in our power to prevent a second spike in this epidemic”.

“Not only are we getting on with implementing the preparations for a potential new spike, but he will know that the government is engaged in record investments in the NHS,” he added.

It came after scientists advising the government warneda second wave of coronavirus infections this winter could be more serious than the first, with 120,000 hospital deaths in a “reasonable worst-case scenario”.

A report from the Academy of Medical Sciences, commissioned by the government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance, says action must be taken now to mitigate the potential for a second peak of Covid-19.

It argued that hospitals could potentially see 120,000 Covid-19 deaths in between September and next June at the same time as battling a surge in demand due to usual winter pressures, including flu.

The report, from 37 scientists and academics, acknowledges there is a high degree of uncertainty about how the Covid-19 epidemic will evolve in the UK over the coming months, but sets out a “reasonable worst-case scenario” that would see the R rate rise to 1.7 from September.

The R refers to the number of people an infected person can be expected to pass the virus on to.

The academic modelling suggests there could be a peak in hospital admissions and deaths in January and February 2021, similar to or worse than the first wave in spring 2020. It does not include deaths in the community or care homes.

The figures do not take account of government intervention to reduce the transmission rate, or the use of the drug dexamethasone in intensive care units, which has been shown to cut deaths.

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This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.