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The Covid inquiry has partly blamed Brexit for the country’s failure to prepare for a pandemic.

On the opening day of the inquiry, Hugo Keith KC, counsel for the inquiry, said preparations for Brexit “crowded out and prevented” the work needed to improve pandemic preparedness.

The inquiry has yet to hear witness evidence, but Mr Keith said he feared Brexit had weakened the UK’s response to the pandemic rather than bolstered its preparedness.

“The pandemic hit the UK just as it was leaving the European Union,” he said. “That departure took a tremendous amount of planning and preparation, especially to deal with the dire consequences of a no-deal exit on food and drug supplies, travel and transportation, business borders and so on.

“It is clear that as of 2018 such planning has been displaced and has prevented some or perhaps most of the improvements that the central government itself understood needed to be made to resilience planning and preparedness.”

He said the question was whether preparations for a no-deal Brexit had hurt pandemic contingency plans or led to better training or medical supplies.

“Has the attention paid to the risks of a no-deal exit – Operation Yellowhammer as it was called – exhausted the resources and capacity that should have continued the fight against the next pandemic, which should have been used in preparing the United Kingdom? for civil emergencies?

Or has all that generic and operational planning actually led to people being better trained and better prepared and basically better prepared to deal with Covid, and also the existence of improved trade, drug and and supply links?

“Ma’am, based on the evidence to date – but that’s up to you – we deeply fear it was the former.”

You can follow the latter below.

(TagsToTranslate)Pademics and Epidemics

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