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SESSION 3

Did the Government adopt the right public health strategy?

7pm - Wednesday 24 March (watch again below)

Amid increasing criticism of the UK Government for its handling of the pandemic and parallel calls from civil society for the adoption of a ‘Zero Covid’ strategy, our inquiry asks: what does ‘Zero Covid’ mean and is it possible, or has the Government really done the best it can? Is it possible to protect the population and protect the economy at the same time? Did the prospect of an effective vaccine side-line effective test, trace and isolate?

‘Our aim is to try and reduce the peak, broaden the peak, not suppress it completely… The vast majority of people get a mild illness, to build up some kind of herd immunity so more people are immune to this disease and we reduce the transmission’ 

Sir Patrick Vallance, BBC Radio 4 Today, 13 March 2020

 

‘What we have to do is take swift and decisive action where we think that the risks are starting to bubble up again’ 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, 28 July 2020

We will look at the UK government’s engagement with local government public health and primary care GP teams and the NHS and ask if this has been effective. Under the scope will be decisions of government to privatise testing and contact tracing, their response to calls for ‘Find, Test, Trace, Isolate and Support’ (FTTIS), their sharing of data and decision making with local government; the financial support for central v. local contact tracing and performance of these; abolition of Public Health England and the level of public health expertise relied on in their decision making. 

THE PANEL

 

Michael Mansfield QC (chair), Professor Neena Modi, Dr Tolullah Oni, Dr Jacky Davis,
Lorna Hackett Barrister (Counsel to the Inquiry)

WITNESSES

Professor Anthony Costello Professor of Global Health and Sustainable Development, University College London; former Director at WHO, member of Independent SAGE
Professor Michael Baker Department of Public Health, University of Otago, New Zealand
Rehana Azam National Secretary GMB Union
Janet Harris Sheffield Community Contact Tracing Group