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UK health watchdog may investigate coronavirus deaths

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The deaths of more than 50 hospital and care home workers have been reported to Britain’s health and safety regulator, which is considering launching criminal investigations, the Guardian has learned.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which investigates the breaking of safety at work laws, has received 54 formal reports of deaths in health and care settings “where the source of infection is recorded as COVID-19”. These are via the official reporting process, called Riddor: Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences.

Separately, senior lawyers say any failures to provide proper personal protective equipment (PPE) may be so severe they amount to corporate manslaughter, with police forces drawing up plans to handle any criminal complaints.

Despite weeks of pleading, frontline medical staff complain that PPE is still failing to reach them as hospitals battle the highly contagious virus. Senior barristers say criminal investigations should be launched, and that there are grounds to suspect high-level failures.

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Source: The Guardian, 10 May 2020

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