Dentist, Dr Minesh Talati, is pursuing legal action against the health secretary Matt Hancock and Public Health England (PHE) over the Covid-19 death of his community pharmacist father.
In what is thought to be the first case of its kind, Dr Minesh Talati is suing the government on behalf of all grieving families who have lost loved ones to the disease. This is after – according to the dentist – neither organisation did enough to ‘avoid the real and immediate threat to life of which they had knowledge’.
The dentist said that the government acted ‘too late’ which led to ‘thousands of deaths that could have been avoided’.
Dr Talati, who himself caught the virus in February, believes he passed Covid-19 onto his pregnant wife and parents.
His father Navin Shantilal Talati, a pharmacist for over 45 years, passed away on 18 April 2020 with Covid-19 viral pneumonia.
‘[His death] could have been avoided’, Dr Talati explained. ‘If only the government had taken appropriate action earlier and had ensured that its citizens had been informed of the true extent of this outbreak’.
The dentist believed that evidence of community transmission was not presented to the public early enough.
‘The government was aware of community transmission in February. However, they did not enforce measures to protect the people most at risk until the third week in March which was too late for thousands of people,’ he said.
Dr Talati is intending to claim that both government bodies failed to comply with their duties under Article 2 of the Human Rights Act. ‘The Secretary of State did not do all that could reasonably be expected of him to avoid a real and immediate risk to life,’ he argued.
He added: ‘This case is primarily a public interest case highlighting the cover-ups and lack of transparency from the UK government. This case will enable us to hold the government to account for their Covid-19 preparations and management and the thousands of deaths that could have been avoided.’
As it stands, at least eight pharmacy team members have lost their lives to Covid-19.
The Pharmacist has included a tribute to Navin Shantilal Talati in a tribute page dedicated to the pharmacy team members who have lost their lives to Covid-19.
Mr Talati served the Dagenham community for 35 years after opening his own pharmacy – Talati Chemist – in 1977.
His family says the pharmacist will be ‘greatly missed and remembered by many in the community’.
‘He was the most generous and kind-spirited individual, always putting others first’, they added.
When approached for comment the Department of Health said: ‘We cannot comment on ongoing or potential action against the department’.