Covid Inquiry: 6 Shocking Moments You May Have Missed

From re-written advice to ignored official warnings, the findings will shock you.
Former UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson
Former UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Covid Inquiry seeks to scrutinise the government’s decisions during the pandemic and assess where and why things went wrong.

From WhatsApp messages between government officials, to statements from former cabinet members, the inquiry has heard it all.

HuffPost UK looks at some of the most shocking revelations so far...

Rishi Sunak rejected medical advice to pay people forced to isolate

For weeks, scientific advisers warned that those on lower salaries did not want to self-isolate because it meant they often had to rely on statutory sick pay alone. At the time this was around £94.25 per week.

Rishi Sunak, in his role as chancellor, ignored this advice. Instead, he rolled out the Eat Out To Help Out scheme without the approval of a health expert, which is believed to have come at a greater cost than the estimates for paid self-isolation.

Boris Johnson wrote ‘bollocks’ over health guidance documents

In October 2020, Boris Johnson wrote “bollocks” in capital letters across a Department of Health guidance document about the impacts of long Covid.

The former prime minister confessed in his own witness testimony that he did not think the illness “truly existed” and that it was “Gulf War Syndrome stuff,” according to Anthony Metzer KC, who represented long-term Covid sufferers at the inquiry hearing.

It is now estimated that more than a million people are suffering from long Covid.

Government were warned that they were ‘going to kill thousands of people’

It was revealed that a senior government official warned ministers “I think we are going to kill thousands of people” at the start of the pandemic.

The unnamed official visited No.10 in early March 2020, just before the lockdown was announced and said: “I think this country is headed for disaster. I think we are going to kill thousands of people.”

The Cabinet Office wanted to delay lockdown because they ‘don’t work on weekends’

WhatsApp messages between Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings claim that the cabinet office wanted to delay the lockdown because they “hadn’t done the work” and “don’t work weekends”.

It also adds that the cabinet office were “terrifyingly s***”.

WhatsApp messages from March 2020 between Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings, used as evidence by the Covid Inquiry.
WhatsApp messages from March 2020 between Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings, used as evidence by the Covid Inquiry.

The government ‘cherry-picked’ and ‘re-wrote’ scientific advice

In a diary entry written by Patrick Vallance, who was the chief scientific adviser to the government at the time, it was revealed that the government “cherry-picked” and even re-wrote scientific advice, only enacting certain measures from the hulk of guidance offered by healthcare professionals.

This included the two metre social distancing rule, which Vallance implies was part of wider advice and not intended as a stand-alone measure.

Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak ‘failed children’ over school closures

The children’s commissioner for England during the pandemic said the government failed to prioritise the welfare of children.

Anne Longfield revealed how she repeatedly called for schools to reopen at the same time as pubs, and for children to be exempted from strict rules on social distancing so they could play together.

This was rubbished by the prime minister and his chancellor.


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