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Bereaved relatives of coronavirus victims are calling for an urgent public inquiry into the Government’s handling of the crisis.

The Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice UK group, 450 relatives of people who have died after contracting Covid-19, told the BBC a review of “life and death” measures would help to prevent further deaths.

Elkan Abrahamson, the group’s lawyer, told the broadcaster an early inquiry should be held prior to any formal probe, which is expected to take place once the pandemic is over.

“What we need to look at straight away are the issues which are life-and-death decisions,” he said.

“We expect there will be a second spike. We want to know what the Government is going to do when that happens.”

Relatives of coronavirus victims say a review is needed to save lives (PA)

Ministers have insisted that they have followed scientific advice and acted accordingly during the crisis.

But the National Audit Office found that it is unknown how many of the 25,000 hospital patients discharged into care homes between March 17 and April 15, the peak of the virus, were infected,

Health and Social Care Select Committee chairman Jeremy Hunt said it “seems extraordinary that no one appeared to consider” the risk.

A separate report by England care chiefs, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, said there were “tragic consequences” to moving patients from hospitals to care homes at the start of the pandemic.

The Department of Health and Social Care said 60 per cent of all care homes had avoided outbreaks entirely.

The call comes after Scotland’s former chief scientific adviser Professor Dame Anne Glover said an inquiry must be held before a second wave of the virus hits the UK.

A nurse puts on PPE (personal protective equipment) at the Wren Hall care home in Nottingham (AP)

A Government spokesperson said: “At some point in the future there will be an opportunity for us to look back, to reflect and to learn some profound lessons.

“But at the moment, the most important thing to do is to focus on responding to the current situation.”