"The government ran an exercise modelling the impact of a coronavirus outbreak four years before the Covid-19 outbreak but tried to keep it secret, the Guardian has learned.
The previously unpublicized Exercise Alice took place in 2016 involving officials from Public Health England (PHE) and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), and envisioned an outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome (Mers), which is caused by a coronavirus.
It was one of 10 previously unpublicized pandemic planning exercises in the five years before Covid-19, now disclosed under freedom of information legislation. PHE had previously declined to reveal details of the exercises, citing the need to safeguard national security.
Moosa Qureshi, a hospital consultant who obtained the information, said MPs should ask the health secretary why he 'failed to disclose to parliament that the government has modelled multiple other pandemics, including a coronavirus'...
As recently as March, PHE refused to name the exercises or say what they were about, but it released information when challenged in May..."
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