Matt Hancock feels the heat over care home tests

Carla Harmon
May 28, 2021

During a seven-hour evidence session to MPs on Wednesday, Mr Cummings claimed his former boss, the Prime Minister, is "unfit" to lead and his Government's failures had led to tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths.

Among a laundry list of allegations, Cummings accused Johnson of dismissing the health crisis as "just a scare story", said he was "unfit" to be prime minister, and even suggested at one point Johnson considered being injected with coronavirus live on television to show it wasn't a big threat.

"We didn't start with a big testing system in the United Kingdom and then we built that testing system".

In response Mr Johnson said "some of the commentary I've heard doesn't bear any relation to reality".

The UK Health Secretary faced a day of questions from MPs and the media over whether he falsely told Boris Johnson that patients would be tested before they were discharged from hospitals to care homes at the start of the pandemic.

Boris Johnson's former aid described Matt Hancock as "completely incapable of doing the job". "The government rhetoric was, 'We put a shield around care homes and blah blah.' It's complete nonsense", Cummings said.

"If the Government has time to play a leading role in this sideshow they have the time to get on with an inquiry".

The health spokesman for the opposition Labour Party, Jonathan Ashworth, said the government had questions to answer, whether or not Mr Cummings' testimony was true.

Mr Cummings accused the Health Secretary of making a "stupid" public pledge to increase testing to 100,000 by the end of April 2020, claiming he then interfered with the building of the Test and Trace system to maximise his chances of hitting his target. "What people want us to get on with is delivering the (reopening) road map and trying, cautiously, to take our country forward through what has been one of the most hard periods that I think anybody can remember", he told reporters on Thursday.

"We put £1.4 billion extra into infection control within care homes, we established a care homes action plan, I remember very clearly, to ensure that we tried to stop infection between care homes", Mr Johnson said.

The UK has recorded nearly 128,000 coronavirus deaths, the highest toll in Europe, and experienced one of the world's deepest recessions in 2020 as three successive lockdowns hobbled the economy. It is spreading across the country and scientists expect it to become the dominant variant in Britain, but they say existing vaccines appear to work against it.

Cummings also said families who lost loved ones to COVID "deserve the truth" over the handling of the pandemic, and "tens of thousands of people died who didn't need to die".

Nearly three-quarters of British adults have had one dose of a coronavirus vaccine and 45 per cent have had both doses.

Asked whether the rise in the Indian variant Johnson said he did not "see anything now in the data" to divert from the June 21 target for the next stage of exiting lockdown but "we may need to wait" for more data.

"I don't see anything now in the data to suggest that we have to deviate from the road map", he said.

Other reports by iNewsToday