Covid-19 Inquiry team to visit Northern Ireland

time:2023-06-09 07:06:36source:NBC News author:Press center8

The UK Covid-19 Inquiry team will visit Northern Ireland to hear first-hand evidence from the public about their experiences during the pandemic.

The inquiry chairwoman opened the inquiry and said while everyone had been affected, some had been more than others and their stories must be heard.

Baroness Heather Hallet has already met with some of those who lost loved ones.

She said she was "struck by the devastating nature of their loss and at times their inability to grieve."

Applications for those who want to take part open today.

Public evidential hearings will start in 2023 with preliminary hearings starting later in 2022.

Baroness Hallett said it was time for facts, not opinions and that she would be resolute in her quest for the truth.

The inquiry will be split into a number of different modules where teams will investigate various aspects of the pandemic.

The first three modules will open this year.

Module one, which opened on Thursday, will examine the resilience and preparedness of the UK for the coronavirus pandemic.

It will also look at planning, resources, risk management and will scrutinise decisions made by governments across the UK.

The second module will be split into parts and will examine political and and ministerial governance, the impact of lockdown, use of scientific expertise, data collection and modelling.

It will look address it from the perspective of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and hearings will take place in each nation.

The inquiry will announce further modules in 2023.

These are expected to cover both "system" and "impact" issues including vaccines, therapeutics and anti-viral treatment, the care sector, government procurement and PPE.

Baroness Hallett said while Scotland had announced its own public inquiry there was still a chance the other devolved administrations would do likewise.

Recommendations will be delivered "as soon as possible" by producing interim reports.

The chairwoman said that way, if they were adopted, the hope was to reduce or prevent the suffering and hardship in any future pandemic.

The inquiry will be lengthy, possibly not completing its task for several years.

The statutory inquiry will be fully independent.

Baroness Hallett said she would not "tolerate any attempt to mislead the Inquiry, to undermine its integrity to is independence."

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