Matt Hancock berates the UK for treating Covid like a "body bag."

The investigation's Matt Hancock

Prior to COVID, the UK's pandemic planning was criticized by Matt Hancock, an ex-health secretary, for being too focused on treating deaths rather than preventing them.

In his testimony to the Covid inquiry, he claimed that the goal was to prepare for disaster's effects: "Can we buy enough body bags, where are we going to bury the dead? That was completely wrong. " .

Although he expressed his "profound regret" for each death, he acknowledged that his apology might be "hard to take" for some.

A widow presented pictures of her husband, who had died from Covid, to Mr. Hancock as he arrived at the inquiry.

Lorelei King holding photos of her late husband who died in a care home

As the former health secretary got out of a black Jaguar, Lorelei King, 69, who was holding two A4 posters, presented them to him.

One poster featured a picture of Mr. Hancock and Mrs. King's late husband, Vincent Marzello, who passed away in a nursing facility in March 2020 at the age of 72.

You shook my husband's hand for your photo opportunity, read the caption on the picture.

As he entered the building, Mr. Hancock made no comment.

We would visit via FaceTime, Mrs. King told the media. His breathing wasn't quite right, and I could tell something was wrong.

"At that time, no testing was available, and he passed away five days later.

"Care homes turned into squalor because there was no testing, insufficient PPE, but, most disastrously, it was because they released patients from hospitals without testing them," said the author. ".

The bereaved families deserve that much, she said, urging Mr. Hancock to "tell the truth" to the inquiry. ".

Mr. Hancock was questioned by KC Hugo Keith in the inquiry about why the UK's approach to pandemic planning hadn't changed while he was the health secretary if he was so critical of it.

"The only response I can give is because I was told we had the best system in place in the world," Mr. Hancock said.

In hindsight, I wish I had used that brief window of time [prior to the pandemic] to completely alter our mentality regarding how to handle a pandemic. ".

Mr. Hancock was frequently questioned about the conclusions drawn from Exercise Cygnus, a three-day exercise in October 2016 to assess the UK's readiness for an influenza pandemic.

According to its findings, the UK's plan was insufficient to "deal with the extreme demands of a severe pandemic.".

The Inquiry has reviewed evidence showing that, by the time Covid launched, only eight of the 22 recommendations made as a result of that exercise had been fully implemented, with work on the other 14 recommendations, including those to prepare the social care sector, still ongoing.

According to Mr. Hancock, some of that work had to be put on hold in order to get the nation ready for a no-deal Brexit.

Even if all of those recommendations had been followed, he claimed that the nation would not have been in a better position to deal with Covid.

Exercise Cygnes, according to him, was flawed in that it treated a pandemic as a catastrophe that needed to be "cleaned up" as opposed to something that needed to be stopped or contained in the first place.

The problem of not having a lockdown plan in place, preparation for how to implement one, or research into how to lock down with the least amount of damage would still have existed if there had been a flu pandemic, he claimed.

"I have a profound understanding of the negative effects of lockdown on a great number of people, many of which are still present today. ".

  • Going through what occurred and drawing lessons from it are the goals.
  • There won't be any convictions or exonerations.
  • Governments are not obligated to follow any recommendations made.
  • The investigation has no set end date but is scheduled to hold public hearings until 2026.
  • In addition to the UK-wide investigation, a separate one is being conducted in Scotland.

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