British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called the inability of his Health Secretary Matt Hancock to increase coronavirus testing capacity at the start of the pandemic as “totally hopeless”, according to private messages leaked by his former adviser main.
Dominic Cummings posted the damaging WhatsApp messages on his Blog Wednesday. They show Johnson considered sacking Hancock in a message he sent to his former assistant on April 27, 2020, revealing that he believed the provision of personal protective equipment was “a disaster”.
Johnson added in the post: “I can’t think of anything other than removing Hancock and putting [Michael] Go for it.
The comments undermine Downing Street’s insistence that “the Prime Minister has full confidence in the Health Secretary”, showing Johnson’s own doubts about Hancock’s ability during the health crisis.
Downing Street said on Wednesday: “[No 10] does not intend to commit with every claim made. The Prime Minister has announced that we will organize an official investigation next year. . . our goal is to recover from the pandemic, ”adding that Johnson had full confidence in Hancock.
“The Prime Minister has worked very closely with the Secretary of Health throughout this pandemic and will continue to do so,” No.10 said.
In his blog post, Cummings said Johnson had ‘a clear plan to leave no later than a few years after the next election’, adding ‘that he wants to make money and have fun, not’ go on and on ‘ “. Number 10 dismissed the allegations as “totally absurd”.
In May, Cummings revealed in parliamentary testimony that he had repeatedly called for Hancock’s dismissal for misconduct and “lies” at the start of the pandemic. Hancock has refuse never telling Johnson untruths.
A second WhatsApp exchange on March 27, 2020 showed Cummings complaining that the health department had refused ventilators for price reasons. Johnson replied, “It’s Hancock. He was desperate.
The third exchange took place on the same date, showing Cummings complaining that the United States had gone from 2,200 tests per day to 27,000 to 100,000 in just a fortnight. Hancock, on the other hand, was “skeptical” that the UK reached 10,000 daily tests the following week, according to Cummings.
Johnson replied, “Totally desperate.”
Hancock finally set a target of 100,000 daily tests in early April, which was reached a month later.
Britain’s lack of testing capacity at the start of the crisis has been at the center of government criticism.
One of Cummings’ most damaging claims was his suggestion that Hancock reassured Johnson that all people moved from hospitals to nursing homes would be tested beforehand, which did not happen. Hancock defended himself, insisting that testing was done when there was sufficient capacity.
Cummings said in his blog that Downing Street forced Hancock to create the most ambitious test plan of 100,000 daily tests.
“Hancock is creating a new version of reality in which he had the idea to step up testing before March 14,” he wrote, adding, “The reality: as part of the transition to the plan B, No10 forced a new test plan. on Hancock, who was still operating under Plan A / herd immunity assumptions in the week of 3/16 that community testing was unnecessary. “
The former assistant last month accused Johnson to preside over a chaotic and unprofessional response to the pandemic which has resulted in tens of thousands of needless deaths.
In his blog he wrote: “If No10 is willing to lie so deeply and widely on such vital matters of life and death last year, he cannot be trusted now either on Covid or any other issue. crucial to war and peace. “
Hancock announced this week that the lifting of lockdown measures would be pushed back to July 19 to allow the NHS to vaccinate all over fifty, healthcare workers and the most vulnerable.
Speaking on Prime Minister’s Questions, Labor leader Keir Starmer argued that Johnson’s “indecision” over India’s travel red list has caused Kingdom-wide spread -Une of the Delta variant first identified in India.
“The British people have done their part, by following the rules and getting vaccinated. But the Prime Minister wasted it by letting a new variant enter the country, ”he said.
Public health advisers warned earlier on Wednesday that the spread of the Delta variant had sped up the number of new infections and hospitalizations in the UK.
“What we are seeing right now is around 7,000 to 8,000 infections per day.. But we know that is less than half of what the true infections are in the community,” told MPs Susan Hopkins, deputy director of the National Infection Service at Public Health England, at a select committee.
She added that without vaccinations and social restrictions, the number of breeders could reach 7 across the country, meaning that for every 10 people with coronavirus, another 70 would be infected.