Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrives at UK coronavirus inquiry ahead of expected tough response

Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrives at UK coronavirus inquiry ahead of expected tough response

Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson appeared on Wednesday at a public inquiry that is expected to bring scrutiny over his government's handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has come under fire from former aides for his indecision and lack of scientific understanding during the pandemic, said in a two-day inquiry in London that he had “undoubtedly made mistakes”. ” he is expected to admit.

The former British leader arrived about three hours early for the proceedings, which were scheduled to start at 10am GMT.

Approximately 130,000 people had died from coronavirus infection in the UK by mid-July 2021, making it one of the worst official death tolls per capita in the Western world.

The Times reported, citing a written statement that has not yet been released, that Mr Johnson appears prepared to claim that his decision ultimately saved hundreds of thousands of lives.

– 'Fake' –
The Times claimed he had “basic confidence that things would work out,” based on “faulty logic” that previous health threats were not as devastating as feared. Then he said.

But he is expected to say that, overall, the government has succeeded in its main goal of preventing a strain on the state-run health service by taking “the right decisions at the right time.”

He also said that although the country had a high death toll, it had defied most pessimistic predictions and “ended the pandemic well below the global excess mortality league table.”

The Times said Mr Johnson, who resigned in part over revelations about Downing Street's lockdown-busting party, had considered 6,000 pages of evidence and spent hours consulting with lawyers.

Questions are expected to be asked about whether the government believed it was initially complacent about the pandemic, despite evidence suggesting a more proactive approach was needed.

He also needs to justify the timing of the UK's first lockdown on March 23, 2020, which some senior ministers, officials and scientific advisers now believe was too late. .

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was treated in a hospital intensive care unit for coronavirus early in the pandemic, is expected to say that shutting down the country went against his personal and political instincts. .

But he had no choice because “ancient sacred freedoms conflict with the health of the community.”

Mr Johnson's understanding of expert advice could come under scrutiny after his former chief scientific officer Patrick Vallance said Mr Johnson was frequently “fooled” by data. expensive.

Comments about lockdowns and the death toll are also likely to be raised, including claims that Johnson suggested elderly people might be allowed to die because they had “a good pitch”.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson denied claims he said he would rather “let the bodies pile up” than impose another lockdown.

– Do you have any hesitation? –
Mr Johnson's former aide Dominic Cummings and his communications director Lee Cain both criticized their former boss when giving evidence at the inquiry.

Mr Cummings said the “low point” was when Mr Johnson circulated a video to scientific advisers showing “a man squirting a special hairdryer into his nose 'to kill coronavirus'”.

Mr Cain said coronavirus was the “wrong crisis” for Mr Johnson's skill set, adding that he was “exhausted” by Mr Johnson's alleged indecision and vacillation in his response to the crisis.

“He was someone who often delayed making decisions, sought advice from multiple sources, and often changed his mind on issues,” Cain said.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who served as Prime Minister Boris Johnson's finance minister during the pandemic, will be questioned at the inquiry in the coming weeks.


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