(Bloomberg) -- Australia has announced an independent inquiry into its response to Covid-19, with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese warning that the 2020-21 pandemic would not be the last.
The inquiry will consider the response to the pandemic by the national, state and territory governments, Albanese said Thursday. In particular, it’s been asked to look into the supply of vaccinations, government financial support and the provision of vital medical equipment.
It will also look at the help provided to Australians abroad, many of whom found themselves stranded overseas for long periods after the country shut its borders. A final report is expected to be delivered by the end of September next year.
“We need to be more resilient, we need to be more prepared for this in the future,” Albanese said at a press conference in Adelaide.
Australia’s initial Covid-19 response was considered one of the best in the world, after rapid moves to shut borders and mandate public health measures kept cases to a minimum for much of 2020. However, the restrictions came at a cost, with some of Australia’s largest cities locked down for months on end during major outbreaks, especially the Victoria state capital, Melbourne.
When Covid-19 restrictions were relaxed in 2021, there were criticisms of then-Prime Minister Scott Morrison for moving too quickly, leading to an surge in infections. There have been more than 11.5 million Covid-19 cases in Australia since the beginning of the pandemic, in a population of about 25 million, according to the World Health Organization.
Ahead of his 2022 election win, Albanese had promised to hold a public inquiry into the pandemic, though some members of the public and his party had called for a more extensive royal commission.
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