Matt Hancock Says He Is 'Profoundly Sorry For Each Death' From Covid

The former health secretary admitted the UK was not prepared for the pandemic.
Matt Hancock arrives at Dorland House to give evidence to the Covid Inquiry
Matt Hancock arrives at Dorland House to give evidence to the Covid Inquiry
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Matt Hancock has said he is “profoundly sorry for each death” during the pandemic.

The former health secretary also admitted that the UK was not prepared for the Covid-19 outbreak when it struck at the beginning of 2000.

Giving evidence to the Covid Inquiry this morning, Hancock directly addressed representatives of bereaved families who were watching proceedings.

He said: “I’m profoundly sorry for each death that has occurred and I also understand why for some it will be hard to take that apology from me, but it is honest and heartfelt.”

In his written evidence to the inquiry, he added: “There isn’t a day that goes by that I do not think about all those who lost their lives to this awful disease or the loved ones they have left behind.

“My office in parliament overlooks the National Memorial Covid Wall. I have visited the wall and been able to read about many of the families affected. I express my deepest sympathies to all those affected.”

The former health secretary - who lost the Tory whip when he decided to appear on I’m A Celebrity - said the UK had prepared for an influenza, rather than coronavirus, pandemic.

However, he insisted the “central flaw” in the government’s plans was not being ready to act quickly when a pandemic occurs.

He said: “It is central to what we must learn as a country that we’ve got to be ready to hit a pandemic hard: that we’ve got to be able to take action – lockdown action if necessary - that is wider, earlier, more stringent than feels comfortable at the time.

“And the failure to plan for that was a much bigger flaw in the strategy than the fact that it was targeted at the wrong disease.”

He added: “If we’d had a flu pandemic, we still would have had the problem of no plan in place for lockdown, no prep for how to do one, no work on what, how best to lock down with the least damage.

“I understand deeply the consequences of lockdown and the negative consequences for many, many people – many of which persist to this day.”


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