Ex-judge opens COVID inquiry into UK handling of pandemic

Oct 4, 2022, 8:18 AM | Updated: 9:29 am

LONDON (AP) — A retired judge opened a public inquiry on Tuesday into how Britain handled the coronavirus pandemic, saying bereaved families and those who suffered would be at the heart of the proceedings.

Former Court of Appeal judge Heather Hallett said the inquiry would investigate the U.K.’s preparedness for a pandemic, how the government responded, and whether the “level of loss was inevitable or whether things could have been done better.”

Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson agreed to hold an inquiry on his government’s handling of the pandemic after pressure from bereaved families. COVID-19 has left more than 204,000 people in Britain dead in one of the worst death tolls in the world.

Hallett said her main aim was to produce recommendations before “another disaster strikes.”

“I have a duty to the public to conduct a thorough, fair and independent inquiry for the whole of the U.K. and I intend to do so,” she said.

She added that the inquiry would not “drag on for decades, producing reports when it is too late for them to do any good.”

The probe will have the power to summon evidence and to question witnesses under oath. Potentially hundreds of thousands of people are expected to share their experiences through a “formal listening exercise,” which was established so people can take part without physically attending a hearing or give evidence in a formal setting.

Addressing some bereaved families’ concerns that they will be “sidelined” in the investigation, Hallett said she would not be able to cover every issue in as much detail “as some may wish.”

The inquiry’s opening has been delayed for months, frustrating families. It is expected to last at least a year, with the first evidence sessions starting in spring 2023.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz listens during a news conference, Jan. 5, 2023, in Washi...

Associated Press

US Border Patrol chief is retiring after seeing through end of Title 42 immigration restrictions

The head of the U.S. Border Patrol announced Tuesday that he was retiring, after seeing through a major policy shift that seeks to clamp down on illegal crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border following the end of Title 42 pandemic restrictions.

1 day ago

FILE - President Joe Biden talks with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of Calif., on the House steps as...

Associated Press

House OKs debt ceiling bill to avoid default, sends Biden-McCarthy deal to Senate

The House approved a debt ceiling and budget cuts package late Wednesday, as President Joe Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy assembled a bipartisan coalition of centrist Democrats and Republicans against fierce conservative blowback and progressive dissent.

1 day ago

Sean Bickings (Family Photo via city of Tempe)...

Associated Press

Family of man who drowned last year in Tempe Town Lake files wrongful death lawsuit

The family of a man who drowned in Tempe Town Lake a year ago filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city Wednesday, noting that its police department doesn't have a policy requiring officers to go into the water to save someone.

1 day ago

(Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS...

Associated Press

Florida police search for 3 gunmen who wounded 9 at crowded beach on Memorial Day

Police are responding to a shooting near the beach broadwalk in Hollywood, Florida.

3 days ago

Crew members assemble the main stage ahead of the 2023 Scripps Nations Spelling Bee on Sunday, May ...

Associated Press

Exclusive secrets of the National Spelling Bee: Picking the words to identify a champion

As the final pre-competition meeting of the Scripps National Spelling Bee's word selection panel stretches into its seventh hour, the pronouncers no longer seem to care.

3 days ago

FILE - Gabby Petito's mother Nichole Schmidt, wipes a tear from her face during a news conference o...

Associated Press

Mother of man who killed Gabby Petito said in letter she would help son ‘dispose of a body’

The mother of the man who killed Gabby Petito told her son in an undated letter that she would “dispose of a body” if needed because she loved him so much, according to copies of the note shared publicly for the first time this week by attorneys for Petito's parents.

6 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

OCD & Anxiety Treatment Center

How to identify the symptoms of 3 common anxiety disorders

Living with an anxiety disorder can be debilitating and cause significant stress for those who suffer from the condition.

(Photo: OCD & Anxiety Treatment Center)...

OCD & Anxiety Treatment Center

Here’s what you need to know about OCD and where to find help

It's fair to say that most people know what obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders generally are, but there's a lot more information than meets the eye about a mental health diagnosis that affects about one in every 100 adults in the United States.

(Photo by Michael Matthey/picture alliance via Getty Images)...

Cox Communications

Valley Boys & Girls Club uses esports to help kids make healthy choices

KTAR’s Community Spotlight focuses on the Boys & Girls Club of the Valley and the work to incorporate esports into children's lives.

Ex-judge opens COVID inquiry into UK handling of pandemic