Lockdown leads to another delay for Grenfell enquiry

The Grenfell Tower Inquiry will not resume next week due to the latest Covid-19 lockdown.

The inquiry was due to restart on Monday with live oral hearings after it was suspended in early December when a member of staff tested positive for coronavirus.

It was also suspended during the first national lockdown from March until July last year.

A statement from the inquiry panel said: “This was a difficult decision, but the increase in transmissibility of the new variant of Coronavirus means that there is a significant increase in the risk of infection facing anyone who travels to and works at the Inquiry’s premises, notwithstanding the robustness of the arrangements in place.

“In the current circumstances it is unreasonable to ask witnesses and Inquiry team staff to travel into a particularly high-risk area to attend the Inquiry.”

The inquiry will switch to remote hearings “as soon as possible” even though their use was rejected by participants during the first 2020 lockdown.

The statement added: “The Panel has decided it is better to have remote hearings than no hearings at all while the current restrictions are in place, and wishes to emphasise that this is a temporary measure to be used only for as long as it is absolutely necessary.

“The Inquiry hopes to start remote hearings as early as possible in February.”

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