THE UK-wide inquiry into the handling of the Covid pandemic has opened investigations into decisions made by the Scottish Government, focusing on early 2020 in the run-up to the first national lockdown.

Witnesses in Scotland will give evidence to the investigation, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and other ministers among the key individuals whose actions will be examined.

It is part of the second stage of the UK Covid-19 inquiry, which opened by looking at how well the UK was prepared for a pandemic.

A seperate public inquiry to learn lessons from the handling of the pandemic has been launched by the Scottish Government, which is chaired by Lady Poole. 

The political and administrative decision-making of the Westminster government, with a particular focus on early 2020, will also be examined as part of UK-wide inquiry.

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It will look at decisions taken by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Cabinet, as advised by the civil service, senior political, scientific and medical advisers between early January and late March 2020, when the first national lockdown was imposed. It will then look at decisions taken throughout 2020 until February 2022.

A preliminary hearing will take place in late autumn, while evidence for the second stage will be heard in summer 2023, including from witnesses in Scotland.

The decisions made in Wales and Northern Ireland will also be scrutinised as part of the inquiry.

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Baroness Heather Hallett, chair of the UK Covid-19 inquiry said the inquiry had begun to investigations “scrutinising core political and administrative decision-making of the Scottish Government”.

She added: “My team and I will establish what was understood about Covid-19 at the time, what information was available in Scotland and how and why key decisions were made, especially early in the pandemic.

“I will be taking evidence in Scotland to build a full picture of the challenges faced by the Scottish government and how it chose to confront them.”