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In UK, Lions Led By Donkeys To Handle Covid Pandemic

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s former top aide faced questions from MPs on 26th May which has exposed the story of some heart-breaking, hilarious and painful truths. Britain has suffered one of the highest per-capita death tolls in the entire world not only because its organs of the state were unprepared or inadequate, but because its Prime Minister was unfit to lead the country in the crisis.

Appearing before a parliamentary inquiry, Dominic Cummings said the government’s pandemic response was very much a case of “lions led by donkeys”. After the devastating account of accusations, there is a public necessity to distinguish whether Cummings was in the pack of lions or donkeys?  

 In a seven-hour hearing before MPs in Westminster, ousted chief adviser of the British Prime Minister, Dominic Cummings gave an appalling account of the government’s failure to handle the pandemic. He claimed, “Boris Johnson was unfit to hold the Prime Minister’s office after he failed to grasp the magnitude of the pandemic crisis that caused thousands of unnecessary deaths”.

Cummings said, “He is sorry for the mistakes that were made”. However, it is striking the government’s top adviser who was involved in penning the tragic case study of Covid-19, intends to wipe out his name from the temple of Boris Johnson with a simple word of “sorry”.

The bombshells of Cummings’ testimony have aggravated the pain of the bereaved families, and the least we can do now is treat those grieving with respect and dignity. But, Cummings testimony about the government’s sub-standard handling of the pandemic already exists in the public domain.

In this story of national shame and faulty prophecies, we can recount the consequences when national institutes fail to function after the state becomes leaderless. There are signs of discontent and public outrage that leaves Boris Johnson and his cabinet including senior ministers with many serious questions to answer.

The UK government’s flawed policy of herd immunity at the beginning of the pandemic did not work which cost thousands of lives. The big question is not what mistakes were made over herd immunity policy, but why Westminster never learned hard lessons from those blunders.

Despite all the evidence, the government’s failure to implement prompt lockdown measures and closure of the borders with the shades of public negligence to comply with the lockdown regulations tarnished the idea of balancing the health of the economy with public health. Meanwhile, the government’s stanched emphasis was placed on disrupting lockdowns and easing the restriction without understanding the real-world evidence. 

For example the sources familiar with the conversations claimed Prime Minister Boris Johnson commented he would rather “bodies pile high” in the run-up to the second Covid-19 lockdown. Such flippant remarks haven’t caused only moral panic but also criticism that compassion has become very essential skill which is very rare in the 10 Downing Street.

There is a volume of evidence to support the claim that the government’s errors and confusion cost thousands of lives and fractured every cog of the economy – when many experts had been raising the alarm for weeks. Mr Cummings also exposed to the select committee “senior ministers, senior officials, senior advisers like me fell disastrously short of what the public expected during a crisis like this”. This was a substantial failure of the country’s leadership with faulty prophecies which has led to at least 150,000 deaths, more than one million people living with long Covid, the exodus of immigrants, and an over-run health service.
 
On the knife-edge, the machinery of state was jammed while segregated political leadership forged an impediment for the delivery of both hope and catharsis into public. In reality, the government collapsed, not just once, but again and again: from the personal protective equipment (PPE) to the National Health Services (NHS) pay rise and to carve out a political cohesion in the Pandemic leaving many struggling with pain.

Similarly, the engines of racial and economic disparities continued to grind ethnic minorities and other coloured communities leading us to a Covid tragedy. Longstanding health and economic disparities affecting ethnic minorities in the UK have been made acutely visible by the COVID-19 pandemic.

To cut the story short, England’s government has failed to deliver when the public needed it most. As progress has been made, most notably with the UK’s rapid vaccine rollout, it comes as deaths continue to rise, leaving countless people bereaved and suffer in silence.

Multiple government missteps, miscalculations and delayed responses have contributed to the death toll. Comparatively, less wealthy countries such as Senegal, Pakistan, Greece, and South Korea did astonishingly well at managing pandemic because of their leadership.

It is heart-breaking that the pandemic has done enormous damage to the world’s cities, dissolving millions of jobs, closing airports, and forcing inhabitants to hide indoors. But the bereaved families who lost their loved ones deserve accountability and justice from those who were in power and involved in the decision-making process of handling the crisis.

There is only one truth bereaved families can ever hope to know, and that is if the government was noticing the warning light on the dashboard, then why Westminster did not put pressure on that brake pedal to keep the virus under control.

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Naya Daur