LONDON, Dec 6, (AP): Former British prime minister Boris Johnson defended his handling of COVID-19 on Wednesday at a public inquiry into the pandemic, saying his government “got some things wrong” but did its best.
Johnson began two days of questioning under oath by lawyers for the judge-led inquiry about his initial reluctance to impose a national lockdown in early 2020 and other fateful decisions.
Johnson opened his testimony with an apology “for the pain and the loss and the suffering of the COVID victims,” though not for any of his own actions. Four people stood up in court as he spoke, holding signs saying: “The Dead can't hear your apologies,” before being escorted out by security staff.
“Inevitably, in the course of trying to deal with a very, very difficult pandemic in which we had to balance appalling harms on either side of the decision, we may have made mistakes,” Johnson said. “Inevitably, we got some things wrong. I think we were doing our best at the time.”
Johnson had arrived at the inquiry venue at daybreak, several hours before he was due to take the stand, avoiding a protest by relatives of some of those victims.
Among those wanting answers from the inquiry are families of some of the more than 230,000 people in the UK who died after contracting the virus. A group gathered outside the office building where the inquiry was set, holding some pictures of their loved ones. A banner declared: “Let the bodies pile high” – a statement attributed to Johnson by an aid. Another sign said: “Johnson partied while people died.”
Johnson was pushed out of office by his own Conservative Party in mid-2022 after multiple ethics scandals, including the revelation that he and staff members held parties in the prime minister's Downing Street offices in 2020 and 2021, flouting the government's lockdown restrictions.
The post Former UK PM Johnson defends COVID-19 record at inquiry first appeared on ARAB TIMES – KUWAIT NEWS.