Rishi Sunak Covid Commission defends its role in protecting collective wellbeing during the pandemic

The British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, conveyed this Monday his "deep regret" to those who lost family members in the coronavirus pandemic and to those who "suffered as a result of the actions taken" throughout the crisis

Rishi Sunak Covid Commission defends its role in protecting collective wellbeing during the pandemic

The British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, conveyed this Monday his "deep regret" to those who lost family members in the coronavirus pandemic and to those who "suffered as a result of the actions taken" throughout the crisis. The conservative president took advantage of the first minutes of his sworn testimony before the commission studying the management of Covid-19 to join the general feeling of pity expressed by his predecessor as head of Government, Boris Johnson, and other ministers who have already declared in the oral sessions of this independent process.

The apology was insufficient for the group of victims protesting in front of the commission's headquarters in west London. "They do not accept his empty words of regret and point out that the prime minister has not issued a single word of apology," denounced Aamer Anwar, legal representative of the group Afflicted by Covid.

Sunak avoided criticizing Johnson's leadership during the pandemic, which has been described as "chaotic" and "constructively ineffective" by the former prime minister's scientific and political advisers. On the other hand, the now conservative president has approved the government style of his predecessor and has asserted that he acted in accordance with the recommendations of the panel of scientists. The shifts in strategy responded, according to Sunak, to revisions in expert judgment as the infection spread.

He has also reiterated that initiatives were communicated and discussed at all times with Johnson, with whom he shared a home and garden in Downing Street. "I always had the opportunity to provide ideas and advice to the prime minister," she said. The work conversations were held in official and private contexts, in the face of an unprecedented health emergency. "I probably saw the prime minister more than I saw my wife in that time," she added, before noting that it is "normal that not every conversation between two ministers is recorded."

Sunak defended his stance in the different phases of the pandemic, including the controversial promotion of the restaurant sector after the suspension of the first national lockdown, in the summer of 2020. There is no firm evidence to blame the now discredited Eating Out policy , to help with the outbreak of the second wave of infections and deaths in the United Kingdom, but senior officials and medical advisors dubbed the then Treasury Minister as the Doctor of Death who "helps the virus" by subsidizing lunches and dinners in restaurants and pubs.

Sunak described the nearly €1 billion national initiative as a "micro policy" focused on saving jobs that was "designed in the context of a safe reopening" of the sector. Questioned by the survey's lawyer, he denied that it could be considered a health risk and reproached "those who now believe that he was risky" for not having raised the alarm at the time.

The conservative leader said he did not remember meetings in which crucial decisions about confinements were made. He shares with Johnson the failure to deliver WhatsApp messages from the months of the pandemic to the investigative commission. The former premier hid behind technical problems that he said he did not understand. His successor declared yesterday that he "frequently changes mobile phones" and does not record or keep his messages.