Sumary of Secret planning exercise in 2016 modelled impact of Mers outbreak in UK:
- The previously unpublicised Exercise Alice took place in 2016 involving officials from Public Health England (PHE) and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), and envisioned an outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome (Mers), which is caused by a coronavirus..
- It was one of 10 previously unpublicised pandemic planning exercises in the five years before Covid-19, now disclosed under freedom of information legislation..
- PHE had previously declined to reveal details of the exercises, citing the need to safeguard national security..
- Last October when the health secretary, Matt Hancock, published a report on Exercise Cygnus, a 2016 flu pandemic scenario, he told parliament:.
- “Exercise Cygnus was not designed to consider other potential pandemics, or to identify what action could be taken to prevent widespread transmission.”.
- Moosa Qureshi, a hospital consultant who obtained the information, said MPs should ask the health secretary why he “failed to disclose to parliament that the government has modelled multiple other pandemics, including a coronavirus”..
- Hancock faces cross-examination by MPs on Thursday who have already heard claims from the prime minister former chief adviser Dominic Cummings that assurances he received that pandemic planning was up to date were “completely hollow”..
- As recently as March, PHE refused to name the exercises or say what they were about, but it released information when challenged in May by Qureshi….