Published: Fri, May 28, 2021
Medical | By

Hancock: 'It took time to build the testing' for care homes

Hancock: 'It took time to build the testing' for care homes

"Many people were left to die in horrific circumstances", he said in testimony to lawmakers.

Hancock said "the unsubstantiated allegations around honesty are not true".

Asked whether those deaths were due to his "action or inaction", Mr Johnson said: "No, I don't think so".

Boris Johnson's former chief adviser gave evidence about the pandemic to MPs on Wednesday during a marathon seven-hour session.

"At every stage, we've been governed by a determination to protect life, to save life".

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.

Cummings also publicly called out the Health Secretary Matt Hancock's management of the pandemic - accusing him of lying over fifteen times.

"You have to remember that we didn't have all of the facts at the time that the decisions were being taken".

With nearly 128,000 deaths, the United Kingdom has the world's fifth highest official Covid-19 toll, far higher than the government's initial worst-case estimates of 20,000.

Mr Johnson brushed aside the criticism, saying "some of the commentary I have heard doesn't bear any relation to reality".

"I don't see anything now in the data to suggest that we have to deviate from the roadmap".

Speaking about current plans to remove lockdown restrictions on June 21 - a fourth and final step on the government's roadmap out of lockdown - Johnson said that cases of the virus were increasing, including those of a variant first identified in India. "This has been an incredibly hard series of decisions, none of which we've taken lightly", Johnson said. "We need answers and urgent safeguards put in place to protect workers still putting themselves in harm's way".

A statement from the Prime Minister is expected with the initial comments made in an interview during a visit to Colchester Hospital.

Downing Street denied Mr Johnson was "obsessed with the media", as claimed by Mr Cummings. His spokesman has said they "absolutely reject" Cummings' claims.

One of the most damning allegations from Cummings was that Hancock's statement that the government had thrown a "protective ring around" care homes at the start of the pandemic was nonsense, and that instead people had been sent back from hospital who had contracted the coronavirus.

"There are consequences and this is what all these allegations are about and that's why the inquiry needs to be fast-forwarded, and we can't have this drip, drip, drip of allegations, and we need to get to the bottom of it".

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