Thus far, greater than 128,000 individuals have died in the UK from Covid-19 — the very best loss of life toll in Europe. One of many greatest early failures of the UK’s response to Covid-19 was in constructing a fit-for-purpose test-and-trace system. The British authorities has additionally been criticized for neglecting care houses, permitting many amenities to go with out enough private protecting gear (PPE), testing and clear tips.
“Because the PM stated himself, Hancock’s efficiency on testing, procurement, PPE [personal protective equipment], care houses and many others was ‘completely f**king hopeless,'” Cummings stated in a tweet, sharing a screenshot of what seems to be a WhatsApp alternate with Johnson from March 27, simply days after the UK went into its first full lockdown amid a worsening outbreak.
It is the newest bombshell to be dropped by Cummings, a divisive determine who stop his publish final November amid the UK’s lethal second wave of the pandemic. Final month, he gave a damning account of the federal government’s coronavirus response in a marathon seven-hour listening to earlier than Members of Parliament in Westminster.
However Cummings’ critics have questioned his legitimacy as a witness. Through the top of the pandemic, he was arguably probably the most senior individual working inside Downing Road, other than Johnson and performed a key position in devising the federal government’s pandemic technique.
Cummings instructed that Hancock had dreamed up a “new model of actuality” when he stated he had provide you with the thought of accelerating testing capability, and that the well being secretary had the truth is been working beneath the deserted “herd immunity” technique till March 16. Amongst Cummings’ “proof” dump was a doc from the UK authorities’s Cobra committee — a cross-departmental group convened in conditions of nationwide emergency — that argued for herd immunity by September to keep away from a second peak.
The previous aide additionally claimed that the well being secretary had intentionally aimed to distract “consideration from testing in care houses and the PPE debacle” in April, by grabbing media consideration together with his pledge to ship 100,000 exams a day.
“Testing, like vaccines, was faraway from his management in Could due to his incompetence and dishonesty,” Cummings wrote on Substack.
Cummings stated Hancock had misrepresented his position within the dealing with of the disaster, giving “a fictitious account” to MPs final week throughout a parliamentary listening to through which he denied there have been nationwide shortages of PPE and defended his 100,000 testing goal.
“If No10 is ready to lie so deeply and broadly about such very important problems with life and loss of life final 12 months, it can’t be trusted now both on covid or some other essential difficulty of struggle and peace,” Cummings wrote.
Cummings stated he had been conflicted about publishing the personal WhatsApp messages, however felt compelled to take action after Hancock disputed his retelling of occasions on the choose committee and referred to as on him to supply proof.
In screenshots of textual content messages revealed on Substack, Cummings stated Hancock had instructed a morning assembly on March 24 that testing capability could be ramped up from 10,000 a day by March 30 and 100,000 a day “inside a month.”
In response to the photograph shared on Cummings’ weblog and on Twitter, Johnson responded: “Completely f**king hopeless.”
In one other textual content message a month later, on April 27, when Nationwide Well being Service employees had been operating out of essential masks and robes, Johnson stated the PPE shortages had been “a catastrophe,” and instructed taking Hancock off supply of the gear fully.
“Wtf can we do?” Johnson wrote.
When requested throughout Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday whether or not the WhatsApp messages revealed by Cummings had been real, Johnson didn’t reply.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman stated he doesn’t plan to interact with each allegation made and that the federal government’s focus is on delivering for the general public.
The spokesman added that Johnson had full confidence in his well being secretary.
CNN has reached out to the UK Division of Well being and Social Take care of remark.