On Tuesday, the Chair of the COVID-19 public inquiry Lady Heather Hallet officially launched proceedings, vowing to examine all aspects of the country’s handling of the pandemic and learn whether things could be handled better in future. The hearing began with a minute’s silence for those who died during the pandemic.
The inquiry is expected to last for several years, although Lady Hallet declared she was determined it would not drag on unnecessarily for decades. She also affirmed her commitment to producing reports and recommendations in good time in case they are required for another imminent health crisis.
The Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group is already leading criticism of Lady Hallet’s planned handling of evidence, expressing their anger that only a snapshot of the bereaved’s views will be heard rather than hundreds of thousands of testimonies. Lady Hallet stated this was necessary to ensure that the inquiry would keep to a sensible timeframe.
The inquiry’s scope is set to be extremely wide, starting with the examination of the UK’s pandemic preparedness during this current module. Other modules with tackle topics such as performance of the NHS, care homes, lockdowns, schooling, children, minorities, mental health, the economy and border controls.