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Covid-19: Chaotic decision making and failure to communicate undermined government response, says report

BMJ 2020; 371 doi: (Published 22 December 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;371:m4940

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  1. Shaun Griffin
  1. London

Ministers must improve the way they use and communicate advice from scientists or risk repeating mistakes made earlier in the coronavirus pandemic, a think tank has warned.

A report from the Institute for Government outlined a series of errors it said the government made in the past 10 months: from the lack of a coherent strategy when lockdown restrictions were lifted in May to its failure to consult scientists on “epidemiologically illiterate” policies, such as the “Eat Out to Help Out” scheme, and its delay in consulting the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies on the return of students to universities.1

Many such problems had been seen in the government’s handling of past crises, such as the outbreaks of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, foot and mouth disease, and H1N1 “swine” flu, said the report. These included the blurring …

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