Ten questions on the next phase of the UK’s COVID-19 response

Policy Briefing

Published 15/10/2020

Ethical considerations in the next phase of the COVID 19 response Page 1
This spotlight briefing summaries the questions that remain for the UK Government about the next phase of the COVID-19 response.
Together we can stop the spread of COVID

Since the beginning of the year, the UK Government has introduced a number of public health measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of those measures have been eased in recent months but, in response to an increase in the number of new cases and a rising R number, some new restrictions have been introduced, with the prospect of more to come over winter.

The pandemic has created a number of profound ethical challenges. This briefing note summarises the questions that remain about the next phase of the COVID-19 response, and elucidates some of the values that should inform discussion.

It does not offer conclusions or recommendations as to a way forward: that can only come through careful and informed debate - one which the Nuffield Council on Bioethics (NCOB) is ready to support. Instead, it draws on a number of enquiries and briefings previously published by the NCOB to highlight the ethical considerations which must continue to inform the country’s response to the next phase, and to emphasise the importance of ethics in the decision-making process.