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The Guardian view on the Covid report: a reckoning begins | Editorial

Multiple failings are revealed in a critique of pandemic policy by MPs. It marks the start of a long, hard process

The report published on Monday by two parliamentary committees is a stage in a longer process of learning from, and demanding accountability for, the UK government’s handling of the pandemic. Rightly, its authors call for the judge-led public inquiry into the disaster to start “as soon as possible”. The chair of the health and social care committee, Jeremy Hunt, and the chair of the science and technology committee, Greg Clark, are serious politicians with a degree of independence from Boris Johnson’s administration. But they are also both former Conservative cabinet members. So there can be no pretence that this preliminary review constitutes anything approaching a fully independent verdict. It is no surprise that some families bereaved during the past year and a half have angrily rejected it.

That said, the World Health Organization’s special envoy on Covid, Dr David Nabarro, has described the process as a “dense learning moment”. And it makes sense to take from the exercise what is useful, while recognising its limits. Many of the conclusions are unsurprising (the report focuses mostly on England, only now and then commenting on decisions taken by the devolved administrations). The flawed thinking that led to the delay in the initial lockdown, the lack of overall preparedness, and the slow and clumsy implementation of a test, trace and isolate programme: all these are familiar themes of the government’s many critics.

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Read the original article at The Guardian

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