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We knew this would happen. So why weren’t we ready?

The government’s national security advisers warned of the threat of a pandemic. “I don’t know why more wasn’t done,” said one

By Steve Bloomfield  

Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, outside the ExCel centre—home to the NHS's new Nightingale Hospital. Photo: WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto/PA Images

“The risk of human pandemic disease remains one of the highest we face,” stated the UK government’s 2010 national security strategy. The “possible impacts of a future pandemic,” it continued, “could be that up to one half of the UK population becomes infected, resulting in between 50,000 and 750,000 deaths in the UK, with corresponding disruption to everyday life.”

According to the government’s national risk register, published at the same time,…

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