'I regret all of the deaths' - Matt Hancock reflects on the anniversary of the UK's first national lockdown
Health Secretary Matt Hancock appeared on Good Morning Britain on the anniversary of the UK's first national lockdown.
Asked about his regrets from the past year, Mr Hancock told Susanna Reid and Ben Shephard: "I regret all of the deaths. I remember the very first one. I remember feeling a deep sense of loss. I remember at the start when we thought you couldn’t pass this disease on unless you had symptoms. That was the assumption and that underpinned some of the early policies. We’ve learned a lot. We’ve learned a lot as a society and thankfully now we can see a route out of this, but it’s probably been the hardest year this country has had for a generation and everybody has been touched.
When asked about the government's failures over the handling of the pandemic including the PPE shortage and sending people back into care homes from hospitals without being tested first, Mr Hancock explained that it is "important to learn from them for the future."
"The important thing is that we learn all of these lessons constantly. We’ve got to be looking always to improve our response both learning from things that went badly and learning from things that went well," he said.
Challenged on why a public inquiry into the government's handling of the pandemic can't happen sooner rather than later, Mr Hancock responded by saying it "depends on circumstances."
"There is still a great challenge. We’ve got the roadmap. We’ve got the route out, we’ve got the vaccination programme going incredibly well. We’ve got to work on all those things to get us out. Of course, there will be a moment when it’s important to look back and have an inquiry and that’s fine," he said.
"It depends on circumstances. We’re working incredibly hard right now to keep the country safe and that means looking at what has gone well, what hasn’t gone well, doing everything with the best possible judgement on what are some really big calls."
During the interview, Mr Hancock also confirmed that the government are considering making the Covid vaccine mandatory for care home workers.
He said: "No decisions have been taken and we have to take into account all of these things. Crucially we have a duty of care for the people who are in the care homes. Both sides of this have to be taken into account and we’ve got to talk to people in the sector. There are many in the sector calling for this to happen because a legal change would be required and it’s something we’re considering."