The delay in introducing the first lockdown and enforcing measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus has made UK record one of the worst ever public health failures in history, as noted by medical practitioners.
The UK is said to have made one of the greatest mistakes ever in healthcare, as regards the COVID 19 pandemic. During the first phase of the pandemic, the country focused on achieving immunity by developing technologies to manage the situation. In this process, the lockdown which was a global strategy to curtail the virus, was delayed. This led to the unwarented loss of lives.
A cross-party group has insisted that the vaccination programme was a success and decribes it as “one of the most effective initiatives in UK history”. However, reports say that the records were predominantly gotten from England with exceptions to the pandemic cases in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It is said that the virus has claimed more than 150,000 lives in the UK and about 5 million across the globe.
The Health and Social Care Committee and the Science and Technology Committee in the UK have presented the long-awaited report – Coronavirus: Lessons learned to date, which details the failures and successes of the goverment strategy, in collaboration with scientists, in curtailing the virus. In a statement accompanying the report, Tory MPs Jeremy Hunt and Greg Clark, who chair the committees, said “the UK has combined some big achievements with some big mistakes. It is vital to learn from both,” they added. They also mentioned the fact that in situations like a pandemic, it is impossible to get everything right or have the best conditions.
There were applauds for the government’s efforts, as made by a government spokesperson who said: “We have never shied away from taking quick and decisive action to save lives and protect our NHS, including introducing restrictions and lockdowns. Thanks to a collective national effort, we avoided NHS services becoming overwhelmed.”
Despite the praises, a number of people believed more should have been done to manage the situations. One of those who wouldn’t sing praises to the governemnt is Labour’s shadow health secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, who said “monumental errors” had been made in the reports. Others were those representing the bereaved families who lost their loved ones to the virus. They argued that provision was not made for the case of those that died.
When the pandemic hit UK, the government’s approach was to manage the spread, instead of stopping it. The report stated that this decision was taken based on the advice from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage). Unlike in other parts of the globe where strict measures were taken, such as instant lockdown, the UK carried on with a more liberal policy, leading to the loss of lives. MPs have argued that this action/inaction by the UK government, alongside scientists has made the country fail woefully in public health.
Featured Image Source: CIDRAP