To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 26 August 2021 to Question 16063 on Disease Control, if he will make it his policy to gather the details of all pandemic exercises held across Government departments from 2010 onwards; if he will set out the relevance of each exercise to the covid-19 pandemic; and if he will make a statement.
In addition to the information provided in the response to PQ 16063, the following cross-government exercises have been conducted since 2010 in relation to pandemic preparedness and response:
April 2021: an official-level exercise to test contingency plans for the risk of an emergence of a significant variant of COVID-19.
May 2021: a Ministerial-level exercise to rehearse the response to the outbreak of a significant variant of COVID-19.
August 2021: a series of official-level wargames to test cross-government COVID-19 arrangements for the Autumn / Winter period.
As explained in the response to PQ 16063, the Government does not publicly comment in detail on pandemic preparedness exercises. This includes exercises that test plans for ongoing emergencies, including COVID-19. This is to allow Ministers, officials and emergency planners to develop policies and plans while ensuring that the full, candid and proper deliberation of lessons learned is not influenced or impacted by the possibility of public exposure.