UK PM announces independent public inquiry into government handling of COVID-19 pandemic

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LONDON, May 12 (Xinhua) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Wednesday that an independent public inquiry into the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic will begin in spring 2022.

“Amid such tragedy the state has an obligation to examine its actions as rigorously and as candidly as possible” and “learn every lesson for the future”, Johnson told lawmakers at the House of Commons, the lower house of the British Parliament.

Britain was the first country in Europe to pass the grim mark of 100,000 coronavirus-related death toll. More than 127,000 people have died within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test since the pandemic began last year, while over 150,000 deaths have mentioned COVID-19 on the death certificate, according to official figures.

“This inquiry must be able to look at the events of the last year in the cold light of day and identify the key issues that will make a difference for the future. Free to scrutinize every document to hear from all the key players and analyze and learn from the breadth of our response,” he said.

“That’s the right way, I think, to get the answers that the people of this country deserve and to ensure that our United Kingdom is better prepared for any future pandemic,” he added.

Johnson said his government would work closely with the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in setting up the inquiry.

Considering the potential threat of new COVID-19 variants and a potential winter surge, Johnson said he expected the “right moment” for the inquiry to begin is the spring of next year.

Johnson also announced that a commission on COVID-19 commemoration would be set up.

“This national endeavour above party politics will remember the loved ones we have lost, honour the heroism of those who have saved lives and the courage of frontline workers who have kept our country going,” he said.

More than 35.5 million people have been given the first jab of the coronavirus vaccine, according to the latest official figures.

However, experts have warned that despite progress in vaccine rollout, Britain is “still not out of the woods” amid concerns over new variants, particularly those first emerged in South Africa, Brazil and India, and the third wave of pandemic on the European continent.

To bring life back to normal, countries such as Britain, China, Russia, the United States as well as the European Union have been racing against time to roll out coronavirus vaccines. Enditem

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