(London) British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday responded to allegations of incompetence in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic launched the day before by his former adviser Dominic Cummings, promising to do all he could to save lives.
The head of government, who visited a hospital in Essex (east) on Thursday morning, stressed that “very difficult decisions” had to be made during this health crisis, “at every step, we were guided by determination to save lives.”
“Some of the comments I heard had nothing to do with reality,” he said.
Excessive hearing for Johnson
On Wednesday, during a seven-hour hearing before a parliamentary committee, his former adviser, Dominic Cummings, attacked the government’s handling of the pandemic, which killed nearly 128,000 people in Europe’s worst country, the United Kingdom.
Six months after his departure in the wake of the infighting, Dominic Cummings, 49, the mastermind of a successful Brexit campaign and architect of Boris Johnson’s spectacular victory in the December 2019 legislative elections, has been brutally treated as “unworthy”.
According to him, the conservative leader ignored the advice of scientists and was slow to appreciate the gravity of the situation. Mr Cummings accused the government of failing to protect nursing home residents from infection by allowing them to return to these facilities after being hospitalized without being tested for COVID-19, thereby spreading the virus to vulnerable populations.
“At the beginning of the epidemic, we did not know how the virus spreads asymptomatically, and this was one of the reasons we encountered some of the problems we saw in nursing homes,” Boris Johnson said.
Public hearing in 2022
His health minister, Matt Hancock, defended himself at a news conference, explaining the need to increase diagnostic capacity before doing so. “We do not have it, we have to build it,” he said. “I am committed to testing when we can … and then I’re committed to my commitment. This is the normal way of doing things in government.”
For Dominic Cummings, “tens of thousands” of deaths could have been avoided, an argument that made headlines in several dailies on Thursday.
In the wake of these allegations, the opposition has called on the government to launch a 2022 public inquiry into the management of the epidemic.
During his trial, Mr Cummings accused the health minister of “lying on several occasions, meeting after meeting”, but also “publicly”. Mr. Hancock was incompetent and he felt he had been “fired.”
The health minister responded Thursday to questions from the opposition in the House of Commons, saying the allegations were “false” and “baseless.”
“I am always open and clear with private people,” he said. According to Hancock, the government has “taken an open, transparent approach, explaining both what we know and what we do not know.”
In terms of health, the United Kingdom sees pollution rising again, with more than 3,500 new cases reported on Thursday. The variant first identified in India represents half and three-quarters of new cases, explained Matt Hancock, adding that the vaccine campaign has so far prevented 13,200 deaths and 39,700 hospitals.