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World News

Christian professor calls for national Day of Remembrance for victims of Covid pandemic

by Donna Birrell

A Christian professor of public policy is calling for a national day of remembrance for those who died during the pandemic.

Francis Davis from the University of Birmingham was speaking as the COVID-19 inquiry continues with England's Chief Medical Officer, Sir Chris Whitty, giving evidence.

There has also been criticism of the government's attitude towards lockdowns in the early days of the pandemic.

Professor Davis has been speaking to Premier about the government's attitude to the science during the height of the pandemic: "It's absolutely terrifying in every sense because I think what we're just describing with the most recent evidence is the failure of the way that we prepare our ruling class to run our governmental institutions on the one side, and then on the other side, a revelation of the way that a particular kind of economics has now become so embedded amongst some of our younger decision makers, that they can discount the value of old people and disabled and sick people.

"If you're being presented with public health data and epidemiological data, and you don't understand it, and you've got to make informed decisions based upon it, you're going to be really, really struggling as a minister, [and] as a decision maker. "

Professor Davis says it's vital politicians better prepare for the next pandemic. He is also calling for people to be given space to "properly recognise, mourn, grieve and memorialise the lives of those who may not need to have been lost. We ought to have something as powerful as the Cenotaph for those who were lost during the pandemic".

He continued: "We need a Remembrance Day for the pandemic, where we remember how we failed, and we recommit ourselve,  once again, to better governance, better leadership, better data, and better care for the most vulnerable in a crisis, because otherwise, we'll just do it again next time.

"The faith communities, in general, are good at framing, shaping and making the case for something like a Remembrance Day, and in designing how that might best be done across the nation using its cathedrals and its churches. It's important to be at the heart of putting the soul back into the country after this crisis, as well as planning to make sure that it's not ripped up again when the next pandemic comes."

The COVID-19 inquiry is expected to run until 2026.


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