The grieving relatives say ministers “gambled” with lives by failing to enforce a nationwide lockdown quickly enough or recognise danger signs from other countries as COVID-19 outbreaks swept across Europe on its way to the UK. They are calling for an investigation into the much-criticised coronavirus testing strategy, shortages of protective clothing and several other planning issues related to the pandemic. The families have consulted legal teams and are petitioning for a public inquiry into the Government’s response to the crisis.
They are also demanding meetings with the Prime Minister and his Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
If the Government refuses calls to launch a public inquiry into the response to the coronavirus crisis, the lawyers representing the families are prepared to challenge the decision in the High Court.
Jo Goodman, spokeswoman for COVID-19 Bereaved Families for Justice, lost her father, Stuart, 72, to the virus on April 2.
She fumed: “The Government must learn lessons, and quickly, to prevent more deaths should the predicted second wave hit the UK later in the year.”
The threat of legal action comes after Mr Johnson admitted parts of the Government responded “sluggishly” to the coronavirus crisis.
The Prime Minister said: “We must use this moment now, this interval to plan our response and to fix of course the problems that were most brutally illuminated in that COVID lightning flash: the problems in our social cares system, the parts of government that seemed to respond so sluggishly.”
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8.07am update: Coronavirus cases more than doubled in 14 US states during June
The number of COVID-19 cases more than doubled in 14 US states last month, including California, Florida and Texas, a Reuters analysis has found.
Arizona recorded the biggest surge in new cases in June with a jump of 294 percent, followed by South Carolina at 200 percent and Arkansas at 179 percent.
Cases also more than doubled in Alabama, Alaska, Idaho, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon and Utah.
Throughout the US, cases increased by at least 46 percent and deaths by 21 percent.
8.02am update: Melbourne lockdown – Panic grips Australia over second wave as 300,000 shelter after spike
Australia is putting 300,000 people in lockdown in the suburbs of Melbourne after a double-digit spike in coronavirus cases in the area sparked fears of a second wave of infections.
Health chiefs said the restrictions would be enforced for one month as they try to contain the fresh outbreak.
Australia has fared better than many countries in the pandemic, with around 7,920 cases, 104 deaths and fewer than 400 active cases.
But the recent jump has stoked fears of a second wave of COVID-19, echoing concerns expressed in other countries.
More than 30 suburbs in Australia’s second-biggest city will return to stage three restrictions, the third-strictest level in curbs to control the pandemic.
Residents will be confined to home except for grocery shopping, health appointments, work or caregiving, and exercise.
The restrictions will be accompanied by a testing blitz that authorities hope will extend to half the population of the area affected, and for which borders will be patrolled.
7.55am update: Boris Johnson to face grilling during PMQs over Leicester lockdown
The Prime minister is set to face a fresh grilling in the House of Commons today over the Government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic amid confusion around the reintroduction of lockdown measures in Leicester.
The Government is facing a backlash over over reacting too slowly to a spike in COVID-19 infections in the east Midlands city.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who will face Mr Johnson at Prime Minister’s Question, fumed people in Leicester were “crying out” for answers and suggested the Government should have moved quicker.
Leicester mayor Sir Peter Soulsby also lashed out at the Government and Public Health England for delays in sharing case and testing data which showed how the disease was spreading.
7.33am update: China issues terrifying new warning about coronavirus ‘This is not over’
A Chinese disease control expert has cautioned that the first coronavirus outbreak is “not over at all” as part of a terrifying warning amid lockdown being eased further in the UK.
The chief epidemiologist at the Chinese CDC, Wu Zunyou, said that the pathogen would shift the way we live and work forever.=
He added that the disease would “co-exist with humans for a long time”.
Speaking on China News on Monday, Mr Wu said: “The first epidemic wave is not over at all.
“The global epidemic has been escalating since January and has stayed at a high-risk level.”