'The horse has bolted' - Covid survivor who lost brother to virus reacts to pandemic inquiry
Sunderland and South Tyneside health trust’s first coronavirus patient says she’s ‘on the fence’ about whether an inquiry into the handling of the pandemic will make a difference.
Marion Jolliff, 63, from Pennywell, became the first person in Sunderland to be diagnosed with Covid-19 after she was taken to South Tyneside District Hospital on March 5, 2020.
The great-grandmother was in a coma for three weeks and spent more than four weeks in hospital undergoing intensive treatment before she was able to return home on April 7, 2020.
Sadly it was only after she came home that Marion learned her brother, Joe Jenkins, 65, of the Ford Estate, had died on April 1, 2020 following his own battle with Covid-19.
Now Marion has reacted to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement that the Government will set up an independent public inquiry with statutory powers into the handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
"I am on the fence about it,” she said.
"Yes, they could learn some things from it but I can see it going on and on arguing about the same things.
"I feel like it's just giving people money to sit around a table and go over and over it.
"Yes, I think they could learn some things – I don't think they should have had airports open and they shouldn't be having festivals or opening the pubs just yet.
"But I think the inquiry is a case of closing the stable door after the horse has bolted."
The Prime Minister told MPs the inquiry, which has been welcomed by some bereaved families, will begin in spring 2022.
He said it would look at the events of the last year “in the cold light of day” and identify the key issues that will make a difference for the future.
But despite her own battle with the virus and the tragic loss of her brother, Marion feels that overall the Government has dealt with the pandemic well.
"I think the Government has done great,” Marion said.
"I am over the moon that we have got the vaccines. I don’t think Boris could have done any better.”