UK Covid inquiry to look at impact of political decision-making

A preliminary hearing will take place in London on Monday.

UK Covid inquiry to look at impact of political decision-making iStock

The UK Covid-19 Inquiry is to look at political decision-making during the pandemic at its second preliminary hearing on Monday.

At the hearing in London, further details are expected to emerge on how political decisions and actions will be scrutinised as part of the probe.

They will cover the period between early January 2020 until February 2022.

Evidence sessions for the inquiry are due to begin in summer next year.

Further preliminary hearings concerning decision-making in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will also take place on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Decisions that led to the imposition of the three national lockdowns and regional restrictions, measures such as working from home, the reduction of contact and the use of face coverings, will be examined.

The inquiry is being led by former Court of Appeal judge Baroness Heather Hallett.

At the opening of the inquiry at the start of October, she promised to be “fair” and “thorough” with the investigation.

She also vowed that those who suffered during the pandemic would be at the heart of the inquiry, which she said would not “drag on for decades”.

Hannah Brady, spokeswoman for the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice campaign, said she hopes the chair turns her words into action in listening to the bereaved.

“The public health measures taken in government were the most critical decisions made in the pandemic,” she said.

“Here, more than ever, the inquiry must listen to the bereaved to understand the impact of those decisions and what lessons can be learnt to protect lives in the future.

“Baroness Hallett has said that she’ll put us at the heart of the inquiry and we really hope that she’ll turn her warm words into actions today by listening to our concerns.”

A separate inquiry into the response to Covid-19 in Scotland is due to be launched.

It had been expected to launch during the summer, but has been delayed, with the former chair of the inquiry, Lady Poole KC, stepping down for personal reasons.

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