Michael McDowell: Nphet allowed get too big for its boots

Body permitted to dominate public perceptions of pandemic almost to exclusion of anyone else

Who is responsible for what appears to be a very mediocre test and trace system? Does the Department of Health have any responsibility in these matters? Photograph:  David Hecker/Getty Images

Who is responsible for what appears to be a very mediocre test and trace system? Does the Department of Health have any responsibility in these matters? Photograph: David Hecker/Getty Images

It was inevitable, in some respects, that the relationship between National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) and the Government would reach a point of crisis. It was inexcusable for the Government and the nation to learn on the Sunday evening 9pm news that the move to Level 5 was being mooted for the following day.

It was, no matter how you call it, a political hand-grenade thrown into the Cabinet room. Nphet must have understood its effect. Was what done was a deliberate stratagem to impose its will on the Government and through it on the people.

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