"Mistakes were made" - Sunderland great-grandmother reacts to Government pandemic report after long coronavirus battle

A grandmother who became the first person in Sunderland to be diagnosed with covid says ‘mistakes were made’ by the Government as a study into the handling of the pandemic is released.

Tuesday, 12th October 2021, 12:58 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th October 2021, 3:31 pm

Marion Jolliff, 63, from Pennywell, was in a coma for three weeks after she was taken to South Tyneside District Hospital on March 5, 2020.

She tested positive for coronavirus and spent more than four weeks in hospital undergoing intensive treatment.

Marion proved to be a fighter and her condition improved so was able to return home on Tuesday, April 7.

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Marion Jolliff is back home in Pennywell after battling Covid-19 and has now received both vaccines.

Now, a report from the cross-party Science and Technology Committee and the Health and Social Care Committee has said the UK’s preparation for a pandemic was far too focused on flu, while ministers waited too long to push through lockdown measures in early 2020.

According to the study “serious errors and delays at the hands of the Government and scientific advisers cost lives during the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Marion believes that Prime Minister Boris Johnson “has done a good job” but added that “mistakes were made.”

She said: “Nobody knew how bad it was going to be but I think Boris Johnson did a good job, he was the right person for the task.

"But, mistakes were made such as not closing the airports and I feel like we came out of lockdown too early – He was listening to advisers that were making wrong choices.”

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In the wide-ranging report, MPs said the UK’s pandemic planning was too “narrowly and inflexibly based on a flu model” that failed to learn the lessons from Sars, Mers and Ebola.

Once Covid-19 emerged in China, MPs said the UK policy was to take a “gradual and incremental approach” to interventions such as social distancing, isolation and lockdowns.

In their study, they said this was “a deliberate policy” proposed by scientists and adopted by UK governments, which has now been shown to be “wrong” and led to a higher death toll.

Sadly, Marion’s brother, Joe Jenkins, 65, of the Ford Estate, died on April 1, 2020 following his own battle with Covid-19.

Marion said: “Everyone has suffered and it’s been a really worrying time but the Government have learnt from some of their mistakes and I think it was down to listening to the wrong people.”

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