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UK health secretary says he's 'sorry' for losses and suffering during Covid-19 pandemic

Sajid Javid’s comments came after the UK Government’s response to the outbreak was criticised by MPs.

UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid
UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid
Image: Alamy Stock Photo

UK HEALTH SECRETARY Sajid Javid has said he is “sorry” for the losses and suffering which have occurred during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Following a highly critical report by MPs into the UK Government’s response to the outbreak, Javid – who took up the post in June – said it is important that lessons are learned.

His comments came after Cabinet colleague Stephen Barclay repeatedly refused to apologise for British Government failings during the crisis.

Javid said “of course” he is sorry for the suffering people have endured as a result of the pandemic.

But he said he is “not in a position yet” to say exactly what decisions could have been improved.

Asked on BBC Breakfast if he is sorry for the “failures” that occurred, the Health Secretary said: “Yes, of course I’m sorry.

“Obviously I am new in the role, but on behalf of the Government I am sorry for, during the pandemic, anyone that suffered, especially anyone that lost a loved one, a mother, a dad, a brother, a sister, a friend. Of course I am sorry for that.

“Also, all those people that may not have lost someone but they are still suffering – there are many people sadly suffering from long Covid, we still don’t know the impact of that. Of course I am.

“There will be lessons to learn from this pandemic for this Government, for governments across the world, there will be lessons. It is important that is done.

“There is going to be a public inquiry and I think that is the best place to learn these lessons.”

Asked what mistakes he was apologising for, Javid told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I don’t know all the lessons that we are going to have to learn about this. I don’t think anyone does at this point.

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“I think the best place to determine those will be the independent public inquiry.”

Pressed again on what the UK Government got wrong, he said: “What I am saying sorry for is the loss that people have suffered and how they have been affected.

“I don’t think I’m in a position yet to go back and look at every decision that was made and how we can learn from that.”

Yesterday, UK Cabinet Office minister Stephen Barclay repeatedly refused to apologise for the Government’s actions.

He said: “It was an unprecedented pandemic, we were learning about it as we went through, and of course, with hindsight, there’s things we know about it now that we didn’t know at the time.”

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