Telford Hospital Lockdown – According to Baroness Arlene Foster, not enough thought was put into the potential consequences of the lockdown procedures that were implemented in response to the COVID-19 epidemic. During her testimony before the UK Covid-19 Inquiry, the former First Minister of Northern Ireland and current Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) stated that she believed that the region had been abandoned by the Westminster government “without ministerial cover” during a time when the powersharing institutions in Stormont had collapsed in the years leading up to the pandemic.
This week, the inquiry will hear from witnesses from Northern Ireland as part of its investigation into the degree to which the United Kingdom was prepared for the coronavirus pandemic that began in early 2020. The former first minister said when Covid struck there was a great fear and a panic which ensued. Her follow-up comment was as follows: “It was felt there was a need to lock down in a particular way.”I do not believe that the impact, both the non-health impact and the many health impacts that were not expected, was given sufficient thought. I also believe that insufficient consideration was given to the impact.
“The devastating impact that Covid had on so many families in Northern Ireland stays with me because it was a devastating impact, many people lost loved ones in devastating circumstances that have been set out by the bereaved families’ statement. “I would like to take this opportunity to offer my condolences and sympathies to them,” the speaker said. A significant portion of the interrogation centred on the civil contingency planning that was done for emergency situations in the years leading up to the pandemic.
After the resignation of Martin McGuinness, who served as the deputy first minister at the time, in 2017, Northern Ireland did not have a functioning devolved government. It was not reinstated until the New Decade, New Approach deal was reached in January 2020. This deal placed ministers in place just in time for the Covid epidemic to strike the region.