The delayed public inquiry into the UK’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic has been launched after Boris Johnson accepted calls to widen the terms of reference to consider its unequal impact on minority-ethnic people, on children and on mental health.
The terms of reference published by the Cabinet Office on Tuesday cover 37 topics divided into three areas: the public health response across the whole of the UK; the response of the health and care sector across the UK; and the economic response to the pandemic and its impact, including governmentinterventions.
In a letter to Hallett, Johnson described the terms of reference as “undoubtedly … broad and challenging”.
Downing Street agreed the inquiry should examine disparities evident in the impact of the pandemic on different categories of people, including those relating to legal “protected characteristics” under equality laws which means the impact of poverty as well as race, religion and gender could be examined.
It will not consider individual cases of harm or death in detail, but instead will launch a “listening project” to gather accounts from those who were bereaved to “inform its understanding” of the pandemic’s impact, the response and the lessons to be learned.