Coronavirus UK updates: The public won’t forgive the government’s secrecy over frontline coronavirus deaths

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Coronavirus UK Updates: England covid deaths rise by 350 in NHS hospitals
Coronavirus UK Updates: England covid deaths rise by 350 in NHS hospitals

The government’s decision to review the deaths of more than 620 health and social care workers in England and Wales who contracted coronavirus is a welcome move. But its intention not to disclose the findings of NHS medical examiners is a mistake.

The priority will be learning the lessons locally. Of course, it is vital to maximise the chances of preventing more suffering and deaths during a pandemic which is far from over. But the government also has a duty to be straight with the public.

Some workers are bound to have caught the virus outside their workplace. Yet the public has a right to know whether the deaths of some who risked everything to work tirelessly on the front line might have been avoided if the government had ensured adequate provision of personal protective equipment.

If individual cases shed light on how the government fell woefully short at the start of the crisis, ministers should not hide behind a self-serving code of confidentiality.

A worrying pattern of behaviour is emerging.

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