Covid: Matt Hancock to face questions after Dominic Cummings attack

BRITAIN-HEALTH-VIRUS-PANDEMIC

Boris Johnson's former adviser Dominic Cummings confirmed today that he had heard the prime minister say "let the bodies pile high" when discussing whether he should lock down Britain again late a year ago. He later said plans had been prepared to announce his death.

More than 127,000 people have died in the United Kingdom with 28 days of a positive test since the start of the pandemic, according to the government's coronavirus dashboard.

Cummings said that afterwards, despite almost dying himself of Covid, Johnson regretted the decision and said he should have acted like the mayor in "Jaws", who keeps the beaches open despite a monstrous shark lying in wait.

"We absolutely reject Mr Cummings' claims about the Health Secretary", the spokesman said.

The health ministry declined to comment.

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 only 20,000.

He also revealed claims that the United Kingdom prime minister had dismissed the coming pandemic as a "scare story" and even offered to be injected with the virus on live television to show it was nothing to be scared of.

"He described it as the new swine flu", Cummings claimed, blasting his former boss for taking a two-week vacation rather than "operating on a war footing" that month.

Labour's shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said Mr Cummings' "very grave allegations" appeared to be "well-founded" and the health secretary would have to "give us an explanation" in order for the country to "maintain confidence in him".

"When the country needed it most, the government failed it".

The West, Cummings said, failed during the crisis and British officials were resistant to accepting that they should follow the example of Asian powers in locking down the country.

"The truth is that senior ministers, senior officials, senior advisers like me, fell disastrously short of the standards that the public has a right to expect of its government in a crisis like this".

He related meetings in early 2020 when it started to dawn on some officials that Johnson's resistance to a lockdown was a deadly mistake.

He said officials were guilty of "catastrophic" group-think, pursuing a haphazard strategy of so-called herd immunity before belatedly abandoning it when the likely death toll became clear.

'Repeatedly. I and others said all we have to do is download the Singapore or Taiwan documents in English and impose them here, ' he said. I think it's a disaster that I acted too late.

Reuters has reported how Britain was slow to spot the infections arriving, was late with a lockdown, and continued to discharge infected elderly hospital patients into care homes.

Cummings, who was forced out of Number 10 at the end of past year after an internal power struggle, said those on the front line of the pandemic were like "lions" being "led by donkeys".

"And I'd like to say to all the families of those who died, unnecessarily, how sorry I am for the mistakes that were made and for my own mistakes", he said.

Mr Hancock later said he had not seen the evidence session in full, adding: "Instead I've been dealing with getting the vaccination rollout going, especially to over-30s, and saving lives".

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