Johnson resists pandemic inquiry as hospitals become ‘war zones’

FILE PHOTO: UK prime minister Boris Johnson. (Photo: Jeremy Selwyn - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: UK prime minister Boris Johnson. (Photo: Jeremy Selwyn - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

BRITISH prime minister Boris Johnson resisted calls for an inquiry into his government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic on Wednesday(20) as the country’s death toll neared 100,000 and his chief scientist said hospitals were looking like war zones.

Johnson has been accused of reacting too slowly to the crisis, failing to supply sufficient protective equipment and bungling the testing system, although the UK has been swift to roll out a vaccine.

The official death toll is 93,290 – Europe’s worst figure and the world’s fifth worst, after the US, Brazil, India and Mexico.

Britain reported a record number of deaths from Covid-19 on Wednesday, with 1,820 people dying within 28 days of positive coronavirus test, surpassing the previous peak set a day earlier, government data showed.

The number was up from the 1,610 deaths reported on Tuesday(19). There were 38,905 new cases recorded on Wednesday, up from the 33,355 reported a day earlier.

Currently, 39,068 people are in hospital with Covid, 3,947 of them on ventilation.

There have been calls for a public inquiry from some doctors and bereaved families into the management of the crisis.

Johnson last year said he would hold an inquiry when the time was right, but has not outlined when that will be. Speaking in parliament on Wednesday, he said: “The idea that we should now concentrate…vast state resources to an inquiry now, in the middle of the pandemic, does not seem sensible to me.”

Ministers say that while they have not got everything right, they were making decisions at speed in the worst public health crisis for a century and that they have learned from mistakes and followed scientific advice.

As hospital admissions soared, the government’s chief scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance, said there was enormous pressure on the National Health Service with doctors and nurses battling to give people sufficient care.

“It may not look like it when you go for a walk in the park, but when you go into a hospital, this is very, very bad at the moment with enormous pressure and in some cases it looks like a war zone in terms of the things that people are having to deal with,” Vallance told Sky television.

The UK is currently under a lockdown, with bars and restaurants closed, only essential shops open, and restrictions on people’s activities.

But Vallance – formerly head of research at GlaxoSmithKline and a professor of medicine at University College London – said that loosening the lockdown too soon would be a mistake.

“The lesson is every time you release it too quickly you get an upswing and you can see that right across the world.”

Adblocker detected! Please consider reading this notice.

We've detected that you are using an Adblocker which is preventing the page from fully loading.

We don't have any banner, Flash, animation, obnoxious sound, or popup ad. We do not implement these annoying types of ads!

We depend on the revenues generated to operate the site, and continue to bring you great news content

Please add to your ad blocking whitelist or disable your adblocking software.