Government failed to protect nursing homes: two judges

Can the government be condemned for the deaths of COVID-19 patients? If acceptance is not determined, the answer appears to be yes across the channel. Two Britons, whose father had died of COVID-19, sued the British government and the English health authorities. They accuse him of having authorized returnees to retirement homes without screening, at the start of the pandemic, which contributed to the spread of the virus among vulnerable populations.

In a ruling on Wednesday, two high court judges concluded that the policies adopted by the government in March and early April 2020 were “unlawful” as they failed to take into account the risks of asymptomatic transmission of the virus. He said that despite ‘increasing awareness’ about the risk of asymptomatic transmission in March 2020, ‘no evidence’ shows that then-Health Minister Matt Hancock considered the risk to residents. retirement home. Even when asymptomatic, a patient returning from the hospital at this time should, “as far as possible, be kept away from other residents for fourteen days”, the judges say.

“We didn’t know much about the disease”

Lawyers for the two complainants, Kathy Gardner, 60, and Fay Harris, 58, m Jason Koppel, told the hearing that more than 20,000 elderly or disabled people living in these establishments died of Covid-19 in England and Wales . Between March and June 2020. He said the “government’s failure” to protect this “particularly vulnerable” population was one of the most serious and damaging political failures of the modern era.

“I wasted precious years with my wonderful father. I left her fit, healthy and happy on March 22, 2020, when her nursing home was closed. She should have been safe and protected, but I never saw her again or talked to her again,” Fay Harris said, adding that “many people died of COVID in her nursing home”.

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Returning to the matter, Prime Minister Boris Johnson estimated before the House of Commons that it was an “incredibly difficult period” and that “we didn’t know much about the disease” at the time. A spokesman for the health minister said the High Court found they had acted reasonably, but health officials in England “did not tell ministers what they knew about asymptomatic transmission.”

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