London, May 12 (MNN) UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday said that the country must be vigilant as the threat from the coronavirus remained real and new variants posed a potentially lethal danger, including the one first identified in India which “is of increasing concern here in the UK”.
“So caution has to be our watchword,” the Prime Minister while making an oral statement on COVID-19 in the House of Commons.
He pointed out that from Monday onwards, England will ease the lockdown restrictions in line with Step 3 of the road map to recovery.
He said that the UK found itself in the teeth of the “gravest pandemic for a century” that imposed heart-breaking sorrow on families across the world, with more than 1,27,000 lives lost in the UK alone.
He said that the time is right for a full and independent inquiry – for which the right moment to begin is the spring of 2022 – as the state had an obligation to examine its actions as rigorously and candidly as possible and to learn every lesson for the future.
“The UK government will establish an independent public inquiry on a statutory basis, with full powers under the Inquiries Act of 2005, including the ability to compel the production of all relevant materials, and take oral evidence in public, under oath.
“In establishing the inquiry, we will work closely with the Devolved Administrations as we have done throughout our pandemic response.”
He said that the government will consult the devolved administrations before finalising the scope and detailed arrangements to enable the inquiry to consider all key aspects of the UK response.
Johnson warned that the country must not inadvertently divert and distract the very people on whom all citizens depend in the heat of the struggle against this disease.
“And the end of the lockdown is not the end of the pandemic.”
He pointed out that the World Health Organisation has said that the pandemic has now reached its global peak and will last throughout this year.
“We also face the persistent threat of new variants, and should these prove highly transmissible and elude the protection of our vaccines, they would have the potential to cause even greater suffering than we endured in January.”