Lawmakers in the United Kingdom noted in a report published Tuesday that the delay in England's first lockdown in response to the coronavirus pandemic likely resulted in thousands of deaths.
“Decisions on lockdowns and social distancing during the early weeks of the pandemic - and the advice that led to them - rank as one of the most important public health failures the United Kingdom has ever experienced,″ the report published by the House of Commons science and health committees stated, according to The Associated Press. “Painful though it is, the U.K. must learn what lessons it can of why this happened if we are to ensure it is not repeated.″
The 150-page report included testimonies from over 50 witnesses and health and science advisers, according to Reuters.
Lawmakers pointed out the failures in implementing effective contact tracing as well as the effects of failing to push back on early recommendations from scientific advisers, AP reported.
"Our test and trace program took too long to become effective. The Government took seriously scientific advice but there should have been more challenge from all to the early UK consensus that delayed a more comprehensive lockdown," lawmakers Jeremy Hunt and Greg Clark, who led the committees behind the report, said.
English lawmakers said that the report was conducted in order to reveal the country's shortcomings with handling the pandemic and why it faired “significantly worse” than other countries at the onset of the pandemic. Nearly 137,000 deaths were reported in the U.K. since the start of the pandemic.
Government officials have argued that they tried to make the best decisions with the information that was provided at the time.
“It was an unprecedented pandemic,″ Cabinet minister Stephen Barclayn told Sky News. “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.”