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UK: First hearing begins over government's handling of COVID-19 pandemic

Adrian Pingstone / Wikimedia Commons

The first hearing started this week over the British government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Officials who are conducting the inquiry have also pledged to get to the truth in a process that will not “drag on.”

The first hearing over the British government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the country began Tuesday. Former Court of Appeal judge Baroness Heather Hallett chaired the first hearing, which laid out the procedures for the hearings to come, it was also heard by people who lost loved ones to COVID-19 at the height of lockdown in the country.

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to come forward and share their experiences of losing a loved one to COVID-19. There will also be a permanent tribute in the hearing hall to remember the number of deaths from the coronavirus.

Hallett said the probe will look into how the pandemic unfolded in the country and determine whether the “level of loss was inevitable or whether things could have been done better.”

“My principal aim is to produce reports and recommendations before another disaster strikes the four nations of the UK and if it is possible, reduce the number of deaths, the suffering, and the hardship,” said Hallett.

The UK recorded over 22 million COVID-19 infections and nearly 178,000 deaths, placing the country seventh among the countries with the highest death rates in the world from the disease.

Hallett’s legal counsel in the probe, Hugo Keith, said the probe would be unprecedented and vast. Keith said the purpose is “to get to the truth, to ensure that the full facts are revealed, that culpable and discreditable conduct is exposed and brought to public notice, that plainly wrongful decision-making and significant errors of judgment are identified, and that lessons may be properly learned.”

British Prime Minister Liz Truss pledged Wednesday in her speech closing the annual Conservative Party conference in Birmingham to ride out the challenges that result from her tax cut agenda. Truss promised that the “disruption” would make the country wealthier and more efficient.

Truss said tax cuts was “the right thing to do, morally and economically” while accusing those who oppose her plan of being “anti-growth.”

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