Can you tell us what steps you and other members of government took to review Britain’s pandemic plans when you took office? And what actions – if any – were put in place to improve it in the five months leading up to the pandemic?
- 2. Why was the official declaration of a health emergency from the World Health Organization on January 30 last year ignored in Britain?
The recently released independent report on the global pandemic response describes February 2020 as a ‘lost month’ for the UK and much of the West.
He notes that a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) was declared by the WHO on January 30. At this point, it should have been clear to you and others in Downing Street that Covid-19 posed a serious threat. China has reported more than 20,000 cases and 170 deaths. In addition, several East Asian countries – countries that you praised – were already implementing countermeasures.
Can you tell us what actions you recommended to the Prime Minister when the USPPI was officially declared on January 30? And can you explain why the WHO-recommended testing, tracing and isolation and social distancing measures have not been put in place at this point?
- 3. What exactly was happening in Sage in early March and was there a split between those who wanted to shelter the most vulnerable and those who wanted a broader social distancing strategy?
You said that one of the most “fundamental and compelling” lessons from the pandemic is that “secrecy” contributed to the disaster. You also said that Sage’s minutes at the time did not convey the “real situation, discussion [or] atmosphere ”of these meetings.
Admittedly, the minutes are obscure. You attended your first Sage meeting on March 5 and soon after – March 10 and 11 – the so-called “collective immunity” strategy by which the elderly would be protected but the virus otherwise allowed to circulate was informed at the press.
There are reports of a split between behavior specialists, who warned of “fatigue” from social distancing, and epidemiologists, who wanted a hard lockdown at that time.
Can you explain to us in detail what happened at those Sage meetings in early March? Can you also tell us if the so-called “collective immunity” strategy briefing was approved by you or Downing Street ahead of the Cobra pivot meeting on March 12?
- 4. When was the modeling conducted by Imperial College London that showed the NHS could be overwhelmed first available to you and the government?
On the evening of March 17, Professor Neil Ferguson and the Imperial team briefed science journalists on their latest modeling. It predicted 510,000 deaths without intervention, 250,000 with basic mitigation measures and as few as 20,000 if a full lockdown was enacted.
Can you tell us when this modeling was made available to you and to the Prime Minister? And had previous similar models been made available to ministers as well?
- 5. You edited an old blog post to expand its content retrospectively in April 2020. What prompted you to do this in the midst of a crisis?
According to the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, between April 8 and April 15, your 2019 pandemic blog was updated to include a paragraph on Sars. It was seen by some as an attempt to appear more aware of the coronavirus threat than you really were. But perhaps more importantly, the audit also added a line on laboratory accidents in China that was not present before.
Did anyone suggest that you add the information about the lab incident in China and, if so, who?