According to the UK’s chief medical officer, the country’s response to the initial wave of the COVID-19 pandemic was delayed.

The UK’s chief medical adviser testified on Tuesday that the government did not act quickly enough to address the coronavirus during the initial wave of the pandemic in 2020, according to a report by the Associated Press.

When asked about the beginning of the pandemic, Chris Whitty stated that he was more cautious than others regarding the potential negative effects of isolation policies, school closures, and lockdowns. He expressed specific concern for the long-term consequences on the most disadvantaged individuals and those who live alone. He also acknowledged the challenges of finding a balance between implementing measures too soon or too late.

However, he denied the suggestion made by Hugo Keith, the lawyer for the inquiry, that he had cautioned the government against “overreacting.” He clarified that he had clearly communicated to decision-makers that without taking action, there would be serious consequences.

“We made a mistake by acting too late in hindsight,” Whitty admitted. However, he also acknowledged that there were no favorable choices available.

In 2021, ex-Prime Minister Boris Johnson initiated an investigation to examine and gain insights from the U.K.’s handling of the pandemic. Whitty gained widespread recognition during the outbreak, as he frequently joined Johnson and other high-ranking officials in daily televised government updates on COVID-19.

The United Kingdom has one of the largest numbers of deaths due to COVID-19 in Europe, with over 232,000 individuals recorded as having died from the virus. Numerous families who have lost loved ones feel that politicians and policymakers are to blame for their failures which led to avoidable deaths and hardships.

It was revealed that Johnson’s Downing Street residence hosted several parties in violation of lockdown rules during the peak of the pandemic. These scandals ultimately led to Johnson’s resignation in 2022.

The current stage of the inquiry is centered on decision-making during the pandemic. Both Johnson and current Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who served as Treasury chief during the pandemic, are anticipated to provide testimony.

In March 2020, the United Kingdom enforced a nationwide lockdown, requiring everyone to stay at home, following in the footsteps of France, Spain, and Italy who had implemented similar restrictions.

According to Whitty, although the government had a plan for a flu pandemic, it was apparent from the beginning that the plan was inadequate for dealing with COVID-19.

He stated that the concept of having a plan in place for a respiratory pandemic like this one was optimistic, as it could be easily implemented and followed if necessary.


This update fixes the attorney’s given name to Hugo.