U.K.’s Johnson Backs Public Inquiry Into Handling of Pandemic

LONDON (AP) -
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson waves as he leaves Downing Street in London. (Reuters/Toby Melville)

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that an independent public inquiry into the handling of the coronavirus pandemic will be held next year.

He told lawmakers Wednesday that the inquiry will have wide-ranging statutory powers and that the government has a responsibility to learn lessons from the pandemic.

Johnson said he expects the inquiry to begin its work next spring.

Families of those who have died during the pandemic have been calling on Johnson to call an inquiry since last summer, but the prime minister consistently said the time wasn’t right.

The U.K. has recorded Europe’s highest virus-related death toll with more than 127,500 people dead.