What started as a mysterious respiratory illness that spread throughout the city of Wuhan in China in December 2019 became a global health emergency by the end of January 2020.
As the coronavirus began to spread rapidly around the globe, governments around the world tried to slow the rate of infection and contain the virus.
On March 23, 2020, when it was prime minister Boris Johnson announced nationwide closing order In the UK, ordering people to “stay at home”.
More than three years later, at the heart of COVID-19 The investigation is that hundreds of documents, WhatsApp messages and thousands of bereaved families are waiting for answers.
Government officials have been criticized for breaking rules during the lockdown, which the investigation is expected to uncover.
The UK has also been heavily criticized for being too slow to introduce things like lockdowns and social distancing.
What is the COVID investigation trying to find?
The UK recorded one of the highest total COVID deaths in the world, with more than 175,000 reported at the time of Boris Johnson’s resignation.
The investigation has no power to bring criminal or civil charges against individuals or organizations and cannot force the government to implement its recommendations.
It has been set up “to examine the UK’s response and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and draw lessons for the future”.
It will hold public hearings, scheduled to last until 2026.
It has also encouraged people to share their experiences through the All Story Matters section of its website.
The investigation is expected to drag on for years, with no knowing when it will end and costs could run into the tens if not hundreds of millions of pounds.
The investigation was led by Baron Hallett.
She has the right to compel the presentation of documents and to call witnesses to give sworn evidence.
You can read more about who Baron Hallett is This.
What is ‘module’?
The survey is divided into several modules – interim reports will be generated at the end of each module.
There are four active modules and some will start later.
Module one focuses on the UK’s preparedness for the pandemic and the inquest will begin hearing evidence for this module on June 13. Each hearing will last for six weeks.
Module one looks at whether the pandemic was properly planned and whether the UK is “adequately” ready for that situation.
The investigative website says the module will also “take a hard look at the government’s decision-making process regarding planning and seek to identify lessons that can be learned”.
Module two has been divided into sections A, B and C.
First, the module will look at “core political and administrative governance and decision-making for the UK”.
Parts 2A, B and C of the investigation will be forwarded to and held by authorized countries.
2A will look at Scotland, 2B will look at Wales and 2C will look at Northern Ireland.
There is also a separate Scotland COVID-19 investigation underway and will begin in July.
This module will also look at the decision-making process around non-pharmaceutical measures and the factors that contribute to their implementation – things like face coverings, hand washing and outdoor encounters.
Module three will examine the government and public response to COVID-19 as well as analyzing the impact of the pandemic on health care systems, patients and healthcare workers.
The investigation said this would include healthcare administration, primary care, NHS backlogimpact on health care delivery by immunization programs as well as long-term COVID diagnosis and support.
Module four will review and make “recommendations” on various issues related to the development of a COVID-19 vaccine and the implementation of a vaccine rollout program in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The investigation said it will also look at issues related to treating COVID-19 through both existing and new drugs.
It added: “There will be a focus on lessons learned and preparedness for the next pandemic.”
This section will also examine public concerns about vaccine safety and the current financial compensation system under the UK Vaccine Damages Payment Scheme.
Modules that have not been announced but will be revealed in more detail in the coming months include:
Care field; government procurement and PPE; testing and tracing; the government’s business and financial response; and health inequalities and the impact of COVID-19.
Others include education, children and youth, and other public services, including frontline service delivery by key workers.
The main controversies during the pandemic
Mr Johnson and his government have been accused of breaking a number of COVID-19 rules and the former prime minister has now been asked to turn over WhatsApp messages, documents and notebooks as part of the investigation.
Here are some of the gatherings that took place:
• May 15, 2020: cheese and wine party in Downing Street
• May 20, 2020: About 100 people were invited via email to drink water in the garden at No. 10
• June 18, 2020: Farewell meeting to mark the departure of private secretary No. 10
• June 19, 2020: Boris Johnson’s birthday party
• November 13, 2020: Farewell meeting Dominic Cummings
• November 27, 2020: Leave drinks for assistant No. 10 Cleo Watson
• December 10, 2020: Department of Education held a meeting to thank staff
• December 14, 2020: Conservative Party holds meeting at headquarters
• December 15, 2020: A photograph published in The Sunday Mirror shows Mr Johnson and other colleagues taking part in a Christmas quiz
• December 16, 2020: The Department of Transport apologizes after reports of a party in its office
• December 17, 2020: Loose drinks held for civil servants COVID task force
• December 18, 2020: Allegra Stratton was caught on Number 10’s party joke video. She said: “This fictional party is a business meeting and it’s not social distancing” – then she resigned
• Jan 14, 2021: Farewell party of two private secretaries – police determined this event was against the rules at the time
• April 16, 2021: Both parties organize first Prince Philip‘s funeral
Read more from Sky News:
How Boris Johnson defended each statement in his party before parliament
All images published in Sue Gray report
WhatsApp messages and the legal battle
As for the investigation, it needs as much information as possible to understand what happened during the pandemic and how the government is conducting it.
The chairman of the inquiry, Baron Hallett, has ordered the government to hand over documents – these include messages between Mr Johnson and his fellow ministers.
But Rishi Sunak’s government pushed back.
On June 1, the investigation confirmed that it had received a response from the Cabinet Office requesting the initiation of judicial review proceedings.
The legal action comes after the government refused to turn over some of Mr Johnson’s WhatsApp messages to the investigation, arguing that the material was “private” and “personal”.
However, Mr Johnson decided to bypass the Cabinet Office and hand over the unedited messages directly to the investigation.
The announcements refer to discussions from before May 2021 and are likely related to the COVID-19 lockdown that was enacted in 2020.
What other countries have launched a COVID Inquiry?
SwedenThe US COVID Commission, in a 1,700-page final report in February 2022, said the country’s overall policy was “fundamentally correct” but that it should have closed locations and taken action. other measures were tougher earlier in the pandemic.
The country steered clear of closures and masks, and left schools, restaurants and businesses open, and advised people to practice social distancing and maintain good hygiene.
IN FranceAn appeals court has dropped a judicial investigation into former health minister Agnes Buzyn’s alleged negligence in her handling of the pandemic.
The French government’s response in the first months of the pandemic was criticized by the public, with accusations that Ms Buzyn put people’s lives at risk by not adequately communicating the dangers of the virus. .
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IN ItalyFormer prime minister Giuseppe Conte, former health minister Roberto Speranza and 17 others are under investigation over the government’s response to the pandemic.
inside WEA bipartisan group of senators has been trying to form a COVID-19 committee to look at the origins of the virus and national readiness.
It was unable to start due to disagreements and lack of support from the Biden administration.