Sturgeon and Swinney are set to testify before the UK Covid inquiry

Nicola Sturgeon, the former first minister, and her deputy John Swinney are scheduled to provide testimony for the UK Covid inquiry.

During their appearance, Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney will be interrogated regarding the level of preparedness of the Scottish government for the pandemic and its subsequent handling.

Lawyers representing grieving families have been demanding the disclosure of all unredacted WhatsApp messages from Nicola Sturgeon to be submitted to the inquiry.

It is anticipated that Nicola Sturgeon will make multiple appearances as the public hearings are scheduled to extend until 2026.

The testimonies of Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney will follow that of Scotland’s former health secretary, who expressed the view that no plan could have adequately prepared Scotland for the crisis.

During her appearance before the inquiry, Jeane Freeman revealed that the health infrastructure was ill-prepared to handle the pandemic and that supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) came dangerously close to running out.

During the questioning on Wednesday, Jeane Freeman, who served as the Scottish health secretary from 2018 to 2021, faced challenges regarding an Audit Scotland report. The report highlighted the government’s failure to implement recommendations from three pre-pandemic planning exercises.

The ex-minister has acknowledged her remorse over the Scottish government’s decision to release a significant number of hospital patients into care homes without conducting virus tests.

Baroness Heather Hallett is leading an inquiry established to scrutinize the United Kingdom’s handling of the virus, investigating both the response to the pandemic and the repercussions it has caused. Additionally, the inquiry aims to extract valuable insights that can guide future preparations for similar viral outbreaks.

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The progress of a distinct Scottish inquiry, focusing on the effects of the virus within Scotland, has been impeded due to setbacks. The original chairwoman resigned from her position due to personal reasons, while four members of the inquiry’s legal team also stepped down.

Following the detection of initial cases in early 2020, approximately 227,000 individuals in the UK, including over 17,000 in Scotland, had Covid listed as one of the causes on their death certificates. Furthermore, an estimated 44 million people were believed to have contracted the virus by February 2022.

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