Following the publication of the 2011 preparedness paper, however, the number of ICU beds continued to fall. Then, five years later, government held an unusual and secretive event called Exercise Cygnus.
It involved all government departments, all local authorities, and the NHS, right across the UK. Its report has not been published for “national security reasons” and so as not to “frighten the public”. However, according to those with first-hand knowledge of the operation, Cygnus’ script contained a scenario of a patent lack of capacity in ICU beds and personal protective equipment.