The ‘lost’ Covid plan from 2005 is a tragic example of bureaucratic amnesia

Editorial: Lives could have been saved if the government had followed the coronavirus blueprint

Wednesday 04 August 2021 21:47
<p>The 2005 document makes for eerie reading</p>

The 2005 document makes for eerie reading

It is a remarkable and tragic example of bureaucratic amnesia, and one that deserves the full attention of the authorities now, and indeed when the public inquiry into the government’s Covid response eventually starts.

Almost two decades ago, a detailed plan of how the UK should respond to a Sars-type coronavirus was drawn up by public health officials. They carefully examined the experience of the 2002 Sars outbreak in east Asia. Fortunately, the active virus at that time was not infective enough to trigger a global pandemic and was contained within China and its surrounding countries.

Nonetheless, the opportunity was taken to envisage what precautions should be taken if a subsequent episode developed in a more sinister fashion. The report was drawn up in 2005, apparently shelved and forgotten, and has only now come to light via a freedom of information request.

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