Prior to the emergence of Covid-19, they were told to put in place plans to monitor and contact infected patients and manage an outbreak of death.
Chief Scientific Advisor Sir Patrick Vallance approved the document, which warned: “A new pandemic virus could be highly transmissible and very virulent.
Therefore, pandemics significantly larger than the reasonable worst case … are possible. “
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He also called for plans to bring home stranded Britons abroad in the event of an epidemic.
The government has been criticized for responding in all areas set out in the 2019 Cabinet Office national security risk assessment.
Putting the overall risk of such an epidemic at “very high,” the Whitehall document warned that a pandemic would occur in three waves.
Each wave would last 15 weeks, “with the peak … in weeks six and seven of each wave.”
Half the population is believed to be infected and has symptoms, and a “moderate” pandemic could cause 65,600 deaths and cost the UK more than £ 2.35 billion, she said.
Shadow Cabinet Minister Rachel Reeves said it “raises serious questions about government planning.”
A government spokesperson said, “We have done the right things at the right time, guided at all times by the best scientific advice.”