On Thursday, the next phase of the inquiry into the UK’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic began. It will scrutinise decisions made by key players during the pandemic, such as then-Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
This stage of the process, dubbed Module 2, will centre around government announcements and decisions made between January and March 2020 – just before the UK entered its first lockdown. Documents and evidence regarding government decision-making will be examined at this juncture.
The inquiry will then consider decision-making up until early 2022 and examine the pandemic response in the devolved nations. It is expected that important figures – like the aforementioned former Health Secretary and soon-to-be ex-Prime Minister – will appear at hearings next summer. Initial hearings are due to start in spring of next year.
The previous stage of the inquiry, Module 1, which was launched in July, sought to examine the UK’s pandemic preparedness and resilience prior to 2020.
Chair of the inquiry, Baroness Heather Hallett, said: “My team and I will establish what was understood about Covid-19 at the time, what information was available in each of the four UK nations and how and why key decisions were made, especially early in the pandemic.
“I will be taking evidence next year to build a full picture of the challenges faced by the government and how it chose to confront them.”