Covid inquiry live: Future pandemic is inevitable, expert says

That’s it then for the third day of witness hearings in the Covid
inquiry. More evidence will be taken tomorrow before the first senior politicians,
including former Prime Minister David Cameron, appear in front of Baroness
Hallett next week.

A quick recap of what was said today:

Bruce Mann, a former civil servant in the cabinet officer and Professor David Alexander from University College London, presented their joint report on the structures and systems which should have been in place in a national emergency like Covid.

They found that planning for a “novel diseases pandemic” like coronavirus was “wholly inadequate” and said it was clear that both the health and social care sectors in England were liable to be overwhelmed.

Both men would like to see a radical rewrite of the UK’s emergency plans going forwards saying a future pandemic is “inevitable”.

This morning we heard from Prof David Heymann, now at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, but one of the top officials in the World Health Organisation in 2003 when the first Sars outbreak hit countries in Asia.

Prof Heymann said that Sars and another related disease, Mers, had a “profound effect” on countries like Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. He believes those countries were more successful than the UK and other European countries in containing the early spread of Covid in 2020 as a result, noting “much, much lower” mortality rates.

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