According to UK legislators, the delay in implementing England’s first Covid-19 lockdown was a significant error based on unquestioned mob mentality, shortcomings in detecting positive cases and identifying their contacts were key factors that worsened the issue.
After hours of hearing from more than 50 witnesses, including government policy, health, and science consultants, Parliament’s health and science committees jointly produced a 150-page report on lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a series of special reports of Reuters, flaws and deficiencies in the COVID-19 response in the United Kingdom have been detailed, including delays in the decision to lock down, faults in the test and trace system, and errors that led to the pandemic spreading in care homes.
In the early phases of the pandemic, there was a ‘policy approach of fatalism’ that aimed to manage but not suppress COVID-19 infections, which was described as a ‘major error,’ according to the lawmaker report.
It took far too long for Britain’s test and trace programme to become effective. ‘While the Government took scientific advice seriously, there should have been more challenge from all to the early UK consensus that delayed a more extensive lockdown,” said legislators Jeremy Hunt and Greg Clark, who led the report’s committees.
Within 28 days of receiving a positive COVID-19 test result, 137,763 people died in the United Kingdom, making it the eighth greatest Covid-19 death toll in the world.
The assessment stated that the COVID-19 vaccine rollout was well-planned and implemented, but cautioned that lessons must be learned in order to avoid repetitive failures, and advised that more attention be paid to pandemic contingency planning.
With the notable exception of vaccine research and deployment, the UK’s approach has been mostly reactive rather than anticipatory, the lawmaker report noted.