Covid inquiry to examine Welsh government’s response to pandemic

The public inquiry investigating Wales’ response to the Covid pandemic is set to start on Tuesday.

The UK Covid-19 Inquiry resumes with hearings in Cardiff over the next three weeks.

This latest phase of the inquiry will examine and make recommendations about the Welsh Government’s decision-making in response to the pandemic between early January 2020 and May 2022, when the remaining Covid-19 restrictions were lifted in Wales.

The inquiry will hear from politicians and civil servants who worked for the government throughout the pandemic.

It will also examine the relationship between the Welsh and UK governments during the pandemic; the imposition of interventions such as lockdowns and face coverings; and public health communication, including any alleged breaches of rules by ministers or officials.

Mark Drakeford resignation
Mark Drakeford, First Minister of Wales, is expected to appear at the inquiry hearing in Cardiff (Maja Smiejkowska/PA)

It is widely expected that Mark Drakeford, the first minister of Wales and Vaughan Gething, the health minister at the height of the pandemic, will appear but they have not been announced.

Day one of the inquiry will hear opening statements from core groups, such as the Welsh government and Public Health Wales.

Members of the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice Cymru will speak on Wednesday.

The inquiry has previously heard from the UK and Scottish governments, with the former prime minister and former first minister of Scotland, Boris Johnson and Nicola Sturgeon, having appeared.

Much of the evidence heard in those sessions related to WhatsApp messages exchanged between ministers and officials during the pandemic.

This included some expletive-laden texts from Ms Sturgeon, who referred to Mr Johnson as a “clown”.

The inquiry also led to a row in Scotland, after it was revealed many messages had been deleted.

Mr Drakeford has previously said that some of the messages sent by Welsh officials may have been deleted but told the BBC he did not think “there’s anything deleted on my phone”, describing himself as a “sparing” user of electronic communication.

He was forced to correct the record in the Senedd late last year after initially stating that he did not use the messaging platform at all.

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