5 Things We Learned about the UK’s COVID-19 Response

Best Practice Guide

The publication of the Coronavirus: lessons learnt report

Like most countries, the UK had a rough go of it throughout the long-going COVID-19 crisis. Its public health system bent but didn’t break under the weight of nearly 9 million cases and 140,000 deaths (by November 2021), exceeding its peers on the continent.

At two-thirds of the population now fully vaccinated, the UK has turned a corner; the worst of the pandemic seemingly behind it. That makes the mid-October 2021 publication of the parliamentary Coronavirus: lessons learned to date report felicitous.

What is the report? As the pandemic reached the nation’s border, the UK Parliament – more specifically, the Science and Technology and Health and Social Care Committees – began holding inquiries into the Government’s response. These inquiries persisted throughout the duration of the pandemic.

In October 2020, the two Committees joined forces under the auspices of the Coronavirus: lessons learnt, which considered key issues emerging during the first wave of the pandemic.

All told, the joint inquiry heard from more than 50 individuals, including the-then Secretary of State for Health Social Care, Minister of State for Care, and Deputy Chief Medical Officer, as well as UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser, Chief Medical Officer for England, and other experts.

Written submissions were also proffered; more than 400 written submissions across two inquiries and oral evidence sessions, to be exact, including several sessions held during and after the second wave of the pandemic. In total, the Committees published well over 100 pieces of written evidence from individuals and organisations.

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