The terms of reference, which set out the scope of the inquiry, fall within the already established main topics of the inquiry: to examine the response to the pandemic and its impact in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and produce a factual narrative account of what happened.

The inquiry is also expected to identify the lessons that can be learned, to help inform the UK’s preparations for future pandemics.

Chairwoman Baroness Heather Hallett also recommended that the terms of reference be reframed “to put inequalities at its forefront”.

In a written update to Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday, Hallett said: “The unequal impact of the pandemic was a theme that came through strongly in responses to the consultation.

“I am therefore recommending that the terms of reference be reframed to put possible inequalities at its forefront so that investigation into any unequal impacts of the pandemic runs through the whole inquiry.

“This important...