U.K. Health Secretary Sajid Javid on Thursday declined to apologize for government mistakes made in the early phase of the pandemic, which a parliamentary report this week found caused thousands of avoidable deaths.
Asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today program if he was prepared to apologize, Javid said he accepted that “there are absolutely lessons to learn from this period for the U.K. Government,” adding: “I don’t think there’ll be a single government in the world that got everything right.”
In a joint report from the House of Commons’ health and science committees, published on Tuesday, lawmakers found that delaying lockdown and failing to prioritize social care caused thousands of preventable deaths.
At the start of the pandemic, Javid was a backbench MP who had pressed the government to take into account the economic impact of a lockdown.
“I am sorry for anyone that’s been hurt throughout this pandemic and especially those people that would have lost their loved ones,” Javid said, and those “still suffering with long COVID, which is something I’m particularly concerned about.”
Asked specifically what government mistakes he was apologizing for, Javid said: “I do not know all the lessons that we are going to have to learn about this, I don’t think anyone does at this point. I think the best place to determine those will be the independent public inquiry.”
“What I’m saying sorry for is the loss and that people have suffered and how they’ve been affected,” he added.
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