Court says UK’s nursing home COVID-19 policy was illegal

LONDON (AP) — A British courtroom dominated Wednesday that the federal government’s determination to discharge hospital sufferers into nursing properties with out testing them for COVID-19, which led to hundreds of deaths early within the pandemic, was unlawful.

Two High Court judges mentioned the coverage from March and April 2020 was illegal as a result of it didn’t have in mind the an infection danger that non-symptomatic carriers of the virus posed to older or susceptible folks.

The judges mentioned officers didn’t take into account different choices, together with conserving such sufferers separate from different nursing dwelling residents for a time as a lot as virtually doable.

“This was not a binary question – a choice between on the one hand doing nothing at all, and on the other hand requiring all newly admitted residents to be quarantined,” the judges mentioned.

The ruling got here in response to a lawsuit by two ladies whose fathers died when the virus swept by way of the properties the place they lived. Their legal professionals mentioned the choices that allowed COVID-19 to unfold among the many aged and susceptible was “one of the most egregious and devastating policy failures in the modern era.”

The judges backed some components of the lawsuit’s arguments however rejected claims made beneath human rights laws and in opposition to the National Health Service.

Like many nations, the U.Ok. had little capability to check for the coronavirus when the pandemic started, and lots of asymptomatic sufferers had been launched from hospitals again into care properties, the place COVID-19 quickly ran riot.

Around 20,000 folks died with the virus in British nursing properties throughout the preliminary months of the nation’s first outbreak in 2020.

The well being secretary on the time, Matt Hancock, has mentioned the federal government did all it may to maintain folks protected throughout the greatest public well being disaster in many years.

Hancock’s workplace mentioned in a press release that the courtroom ruling cleared him of wrongdoing and located he “acted reasonably on all counts.” It mentioned Hancock wished that well being officers had informed him sooner all they knew about asymptomatic transmission of the virus.

Claimant Cathy Gardner, whose father died in April 2020, mentioned “my father and other residents of care homes were neglected and let down by the government.”

“Matt Hancock’s claim that the government threw a protective ring round care homes in the first wave of the pandemic was nothing more than a despicable lie of which he ought to be ashamed and for which he ought to apologize,” Gardner mentioned.

There was no instant response from the federal government.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has arrange an unbiased public inquiry into Britain’s dealing with of the pandemic, although it has but to start. More than 174,000 folks have died in Britain after testing constructive for the virus, the very best toll in Europe after Russia.

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