Matt Hancock has denied claims he lied to the prime minister over the COVID care houses disaster and stated “you can’t respond to a pandemic by pointing fingers”.
The well being secretary is being questioned by MPs two weeks after Dominic Cummings, the PM’s former chief aide, claimed he “should have been fired for at least 15 to 20 things including lying”.
Asked if he knowingly lied to the prime minister about something in the course of the pandemic, Mr Hancock stated: “No.”
One of probably the most explosive claims Mr Cummings made when giving his committee proof was that the well being secretary instructed Mr Johnson in March that folks in hospital can be examined earlier than returning again to care houses.
Addressing this allegation, Mr Hancock instructed MPs: “We set out a policy that people would be tested when tests were available – and then I set about building the testing capacity to be able to deliver on that.”
The well being secretary added that the federal government adopted the “clinical advice” always, which included three key factors:
- The NHS on the time did not have the testing capability
- The recommendation on the time that exams on asymptomatic folks may return a false unfavorable
- Because exams have been taking 4 days to show round, sufferers may return into care houses after which later check constructive
He added that the “strongest route” of the virus into care houses was via neighborhood transmission.
“The challenge was not just that we didn’t have the testing capacity, but also that the clinical advice was that a test on somebody who didn’t have any symptoms could easily return a false negative and therefore give false assurance that that person didn’t have the disease,” Mr Hancock stated.
The well being secretary additionally instructed MPs “it was telling” that Mr Cummings had not but submitted any proof to the committee to again his claims.
Another declare rejected by Mr Hancock is that there was a nationwide PPE scarcity in the course of the pandemic.
He instructed the committee that whereas there have been, at instances, “local pressures” with getting PPE, there was “never a national shortage” – regardless of the “huge demand”.