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MPs launch inquiry to scrutinise Government handling of covid crisis
8 October 2020, 06:39 | Updated: 8 October 2020, 06:40
MPs have launched an inquiry to scrutinise the Government response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Health and Social Care Committee will jointly conduct evidence sessions with the Science and Technology Committee to examine the effectiveness of the action taken by the Government and the advice it has received from experts.
Members will hear from witnesses about the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on the social care sector as well as the BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) communities.
Both committees will also look at the effectiveness of testing and contact tracing as well as the Government's communications and public health messaging.
Greg Clark, who is the chairman of the Science and Technology Committee, said: "We are very focused on being able to find and learn lessons during the course of the pandemic that can be applied to decisions that might be coming up further down the road.
"The Prime Minister has committed to a public inquiry but, clearly, that has some way to go before it even starts, let alone concludes, and whatever lessons and conclusions are learnt from that, it is likely to be observed to be too late for the weeks and months ahead.
"So we want to be able to, in a constructive way, feed back what we learn from witnesses in this country and around the world."
The weekly evidence session is set to begin on October 13, with recommendations expected to be published around springtime next year.
Jeremy Hunt, who is chairman of the Health and Social Care Committee, said: "We are going to start next week with a focus on the social care sector.
"That's incredibly important because we know we had a number of issues in care homes last time round."
He added: "In most of our sessions, we will be talking to frontline workers and members of the public who have been directly affected by coronavirus in one way or another."
Other key areas which will face scrutiny are the deployment of non-pharmaceutical interventions such as lockdown and social distancing rules to manage the pandemic, as well as the development of treatments and vaccines.
In addition, the committees will also look at modelling and the use of statistics, as well as the UK's prior preparedness for a pandemic.