It also suggested schools and colleges should be encouraged to teach about the pandemic, including people’s experiences, the role of science and “the importance of a resilient society”.
Oral histories from a wide range of groups should be gathered “to serve as a historical record as this period of our time” and as “an educational tool for future generations”, its report said.
However, Greg Smith, the MP for Buckingham, suggested that the Covid inquiry should be the Government’s priority, saying: “I think we do need to get the inquiry finished first. There is a lot that needs to be in the open to fully understand that period of time.”
The inquiry has faced criticism over its mounting cost, having spent nearly £40 million after hearing just 23 days of evidence. In July, legal fees for its 62 assisting lawyers were calculated to have cost almost £14 million.
Prof Karol Sikora, a leading oncologist who has voiced concerns about the knock-on effect of decisions made in the pandemic, has previously said the money would be better spent on cancer centres.
The commission is separate from the inquiry, which it is feared could go on until 2026 or 2027, with evidence yet to be heard.
Lucy Frazer, the Culture Secretary, said the commission’s “valuable recommendations” would be considered by the department, adding: “The impact of Covid will never be forgotten, and we must find a fitting way to remember and reflect on the pandemic for generations to come.”
‘Remembered for years to come’
Downing Street said that the Government would respond to the recommendations “in due course”, but could not give an exact timeline for its response.
Baroness Nicky Morgan, who chairs the commission, said: “The Covid pandemic changed the lives of everyone across the UK and its impact is still felt very deeply by those who lost loved ones and those who are still suffering from the effect of the virus.
“That’s why it is so important that we don’t let this vitally important period in our history be forgotten, and we hope our recommendations will mean that the loved ones we have lost and the sacrifices made by so many during the pandemic will be remembered for years to come.”
A memorial tapestry commissioned by the chairman of the Covid inquiry was unveiled at the hearing centre in May, to a mixed reception from bereaved families.