Boris Johnson’s failure to begin a public inquiry into Covid this 12 months is a shame that’s all about “political manoeuvring” to guard his status, based on a number one scientific adviser to the federal government.
The feedback from Sir Jeremy Farrar got here within the third extract from his ebook Spike — The Virus vs The People: The Inside Story, the place he claims that Johnson’s pledge to wait until 2022 to begin the inquiry into what occurred with the administration of the pandemic is for “no reason other than political manoeuvring”.
Farrar, an skilled on infectious ailments and a member of the federal government’s scientific advisory group for emergencies (Sage), stated that the UK wanted to “learn the lessons” to “honour the dead”.
He warned that it’s already clear the sort of issues that must be addressed if any future pandemic goes to have a much less devastating influence than Covid.
“We need hard-nosed independent assessments of political and structural capability, which I found was lacking in the UK in the early part of this crisis (and throughout, among some ministers),” he writes within the extract, launched within the Times.
Farrar’s newest feedback come after he revealed that he practically stepped down as a member of Sage over Johnson’s choice to not lock down the UK final autumn.
“By not going into a lockdown in September, the UK epidemic was left to continue its upward trajectory,” he wrote. “The decision not to act fostered the conditions for the arrival and then the domination of new variants, which had such a dramatic impact. Transmission was already getting away from us. It was a catastrophe playing out in slow motion.”
“That was the darkest moment of the pandemic. I began to question the point of giving advice to a body that chose not to use it,” he stated.
Farrar, who runs the Wellcome Trust, one of many world’s largest philanthropic organisations, stated not attempting to be taught the teachings of Covid early was a “disgrace” and 2022 was too lengthy to attend. “There is absolutely no reason [for the delay], other than political manoeuvring,” he stated.
Farrar was crucial of a “lack of strategic thinking” from Boris Johnson at the beginning of the pandemic, describing was ensued as “organisational mayhem”.
“He [Johnson] sat at one end of a table waving his arms around as he put in offers to buy millions of tests of uncertain provenance, brushing off the concerns of others in the room who felt, rightly, that test kits needed a degree of quality control,” he writes.
A Downing Street spokeswoman stated: “We want to learn lessons quickly and the inquiry will report within a reasonable timescale but the end of lockdown is not the end of the pandemic. Spring 2022, after the pressures we can expect on the NHS over winter, is, therefore, the right time for the inquiry to begin.”