Did the government really do everything it could to minimise the suffering caused by Covid-19?

History might not look kindly on the UK's response to coronavirus. Credit: PA

"We truly did everything we could," said the Prime Minister. "And continue to do everything we can to minimise loss of life and suffering."

But did we? Are we?

There have been moments during this pandemic when ministers may be able to say they were given advice which later changed; on telling us NOT to wear masks, on stopping the first test and trace scheme

But there other, bigger calls on which history - and the eventual public inquiry - may not look so kindly.

The first lockdown, last March, could have been sooner.

Ireland, for example, had already shut down its schools despite not being as far along in the pandemic by the time the UK did the same.

The government does have a defence to some of these accusations.

They have been trying to balance protection from the virus against the myriad harms - educational, economic and to other aspects of health - caused by lockdowns.

Boris Johnson said the government did everything that it could to tackle the pandemic. Credit: PA

Yet there is one decision which may, above all, come to haunt Boris Johnson - the decision on the November lockdown.

The government's own scientists urged a circuit breaker lockdown on September 21.

But the Prime Minister didn't implement one until the last day of October.

As more than half of the 100,000 deaths have occurred since November 8, that decision looks fairly disastrous, even in the light of the new variant.

So what about now?

This afternoon the Home Secretary is expected to announce that UK citizens returning to this country will have to isolate in hotels when they get back.

But foreign nationals are not expected to have to do the same.

Is that another missed opportunity? Certainly the opposition believe it is.

It is important to add that we are not at the end of this global crisis, and as the UK is a world leader in vaccine rollout the final death toll and death rate here may not look so utterly awful by the time it is over.

But right now the UK's response to the pandemic looks like anything but success.