The UK needs a permanent commemoration of the lives lost and the lives changed as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic in the UK. The purpose of this Memorial Day will not only be limited to remembering the victims of the pandemic and their families, but include those who have experienced the long-term consequences of Covid-19 such as long Covid.

The day should also be an opportunity to formalise our gratitude and recognition to those who, over the last the last year, have worked tirelessly to see the UK through the pandemic - whether by battling the virus on the medical frontline, keeping our public services running or pioneering the research and development of Covid-19 vaccines. Their efforts must not be forgotten.

We must remember how communities from every corner of the UK came together to support one another under the most difficult of circumstances. This Covid Memorial Day should be a truly UK-wide initiative, led by the devolved nations, local councils and communities to mark the day in the way that best reflects their respective efforts and sacrifices.

We know that the Coronavirus pandemic is not the first, nor will it be the last of its kind. It is therefore our responsibility to ensure that the day serves as a timeless reminder to future generations and leaders that lessons must be learned from our experience and that pandemic preparedness will never again be an afterthought.