Covid 19 caught us unprepared. It should not have done.
A prime function of Government is to protect its citizens but this can only be done if possible threats to its citizens have been identified. We take the trouble to discover what weapons of war might be used against us and we develop counter measures to ensure that we can minimise the damage that they inflict. We do not do the same with other potential killers, and there can be no better example of this than the Covid 19 pandemic.
What were those researchers doing with such lethal substances? And why did we not know about it? Had we been aware of the potential consequence of their research, whether deliberate or accidental, we might have developed a vaccine or other measures to confront the crisis and to save a huge number of lives. Where was the world’s scientific community? And where was MI6?
A threats of this magnitude should routinely be on the radar of our security services. If it was then the system has manifestly failed us. If it was not then it should now become a specific area of focus for our intelligence-gathering capability and the personal accountability of a senior Minister.
Because all our allies are equally vulnerable some pooling of information and co-operation in developing effective defences should be possible, and indeed is necessary. The UK can enhance its reputation and standing by contributing its highly-regarded intelligence network, its scientific expertise, and its vision to ensure a safer world for everyone.