The High Court has ruled that the government broke the law when it released patients to care homes during the pandemic without testing them for Covid-19 first.

More than 20,000 elderly or disabled people living in care homes died from coronavirus between March and June 2020 in England and Wales, many of whom could have avoided contracting the disease if better testing had been put into place before moving asymptotic patients from hospitals.

Lord Justice Bean and Mr Justice Graham declared the former health secretary Matt Hancock did not take into consideration people who were not exhibiting symptoms but could have still had the virus, putting thousands of vulnerable residents at risk.

Mr Hancock and Public Health England were taken to court by Dr Cathy Gardner and Fay Harris, after the two women claimed this decision resulted in a “shocking death toll”, BBC News reported.

They stated lack of testing and isolation arrangements in care homes meant thousands lost their lives, and were “neglected and let down by the government”.

The pair both lost their fathers during the pandemic after they caught Covid-19 in their care homes.

While the government was dealing with an unknown when it came to coronavirus, Sir Patrick Vallance highlighted the risk of non-symptomatic transmission on March 13th, prior to the government’s actions.

According to official figures, Covid-19 has accounted for 16.7 per cent of all care home deaths between March 2020 and January 2022. However, dementia and Alzheimer’s remained the leading cause of death over the last couple of years.

 

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