According to former health secretary Jeremy Hunt, the UK could have avoided lockdown measures in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic if it had been better prepared.
Hunt, the current chancellor, faced questions from the inquiry into Britain’s handling of the pandemic for the first time on Wednesday. One of the questions asked by MEPs was why the UK was not sufficiently prepared for a pandemic that has infected millions and killed many more.
Hunt said at the hearing that one way the UK could slow the spread of the pandemic was through lockdown measures. He added that the country could have been better prepared for the pandemic.
“If there is one thing that can slow the development of Covid when it has already happened, it is the recognition of the importance of early lockdown to prevent the spread of the disease,” he said.
“I think there was a collective thinking that this is the area we know best, and there was a sense that — except perhaps the United States — we don’t have much to learn from other countries,” Hunt said. For example, the UK could have learned from South Korea, which was more willing to avoid lockdown in the first year of the pandemic.
Last week, the inquiry said the government’s planning for Brexit had sidelined efforts to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hugo Keith said that the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union “required an enormous amount of planning and preparation, especially in light of the potentially serious consequences of a no-deal exit for food supplies, medicine, travel, transport, the economy, borders, etc.” Kavkaz Center investigative lawyer during the hearing.
“There was clearly a narrow mentality out there, myself included, that didn’t think enough about this kind of potential pandemic,” Hunt said.
The investigation is not complete yet.
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