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Bereaved launch legal proceedings and calls for an inquiry over government's disastrous handling of Covid-19

FAMILIES whose loved ones have died from coronavirus are demanding an independent public inquiry into the government’s handling of the crisis.

Five hundred relatives of people who have died during the pandemic launched the Covid-19 Bereaved Families’ campaign today.

Merseyside lawyer Elkan Abrahamson is representing some of the bereaved families.

He said: “I’m becoming increasingly concerned by the government’s apparent failure to accept responsibility for at least some of the 40,000 or more deaths caused to date by coronavirus.

“The latest grim calculation being made by the government appears to be about getting the economy moving again, accepting that this will cause more deaths but saying, in effect, that as long as there aren’t too many more, then that’s fine.

“There are already worrying signs that we are heading for another state cover-up, in that we are not seeing a full and transparent presentation of the facts surrounding some decisions.

“For example, the Coronavirus Act abolished the need for juries at inquests into Covid-19 related deaths, with coroners being reminded that Covid-19 fatalities are ‘deaths by natural causes’ and, therefore, an inquest may not be necessary.

“Of course, this means it could be much more difficult to hold our leaders to account for the steps they are taking.

“It’s therefore imperative to start a public inquiry now, both to allow for information to be gathered and to ensure the life and death decisions currently being taken by the government are scrutinised.”

The action comes as a woman, whose 88-year-old father died in a care home, launched legal action yesterday against the government over his death.

Cathy Gardner’s father Michael Gibson died in an Oxfordshire care home on April 3. His death was attributed to “probable Covid-19.”

Ms Gardner said she was “appalled” by Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s assurance in May that a “protective ring” had been placed around care homes during the crisis.

She added: "The truth is that there has been, at best, a casual approach to protecting the residents of care homes; at worst, the government have adopted a policy that has caused the death of the most vulnerable in our society.

"It is completely unacceptable that this happened and that responsibility has been avoided."

A government spokesman said he could not comment on possible legal action over its care-homes policy.

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