Coronavirus: Government rejects Sunday Times claims in unusual 2,000- word rebuttal

Derrick Santistevan

The government has actually released a prolonged rebuttal to a damning news article that declared the UK “lost a crucial five weeks” to deal with the hazard positioned by the coronavirus.

In an unusual relocation, the Department of Health chose apart accusations made in The Sunday Times one by one – explaining aspects of its examination as “plainly untrue” and “ridiculous”.

The short article had actually declared that Boris Johnson missed out on 5 essential COBRA conferences as the COVID-19 crisis collected speed, with government whistleblowers and researchers declaring there was complacency at the heart of government in late January and February.

Lockdown: The dos and do n’ts

These claims have actually been increasingly turned down, with Downing Street firmly insisting the UK “was taking action and working to improve its preparedness from early January”.

Authorities stated it is “entirely normal and proper” for COBRA conferences to be chaired by somebody besides the prime minister – instead of “unusual” as The Sunday Times recommended.

And accusations that Number 10 showed an “almost nonchalant attitude” towards coronavirus were dismissed as “wrong”.

The government likewise took concern with an excerpt of the paper report that stated “the virus had sneaked into our airports, our trains, our workplaces and our homes” by the time Mr Johnson chaired a COBRA conference on 2 March.

“This virus has hit countries around the world,” the Department of Health stated. “It is ridiculous to suggest that coronavirus only reached the UK because the health secretary and not the PM chaired a COBRA meeting.”

PM applauds NHS personnel who took care of him

In Other Places in the rebuttal – which is over 2,000 words long – the government safeguarded sending out 279,000 products of individual protective equipment to China.

“The equipment was not from the pandemic stockpile,” it stated. “We offered this equipment at the height of their need and China has actually considering that reciprocated our contribution lots of times over.

” In Between 2 April and 15 April, we have actually gotten over 12 million pieces of PPE in the UK from China.”

:: Listen to Sophy Ridge on Sunday on Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker

And the paper’s claim that lessons were not gained from a pandemic practice session in 2016 were likewise dismissed by the Department of Health, which stated it had actually been “extremely proactive” in carrying out suggestions.

The emphatic rejections came hours after Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove stated it was “grotesque” to recommend that the prime minister had actually avoided conferences “that were vital to our response to the coronavirus”.

He informed Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “I think that anyone who considered what happened to the prime minister not long ago, nobody can say the prime minister isn’t throwing heart and soul into fighting this virus.”

‘ Prematurely to raise UK lockdown’

Regardless of Mr Gove’s termination of The Sunday Times report, shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth stated the examination “suggests that early on he was missing in action”.

He informed Ridge: “There are severe concerns regarding why the Prime Minister avoided 5 COBRA conferences throughout February, when the entire world might see how severe this was ending up being.

” And we understand that severe errors have actually been made, we understand that our frontline NHS personnel do not have the PPE, that they have actually been informed this weekend that they won’ t always have the dress which are important to keep them safe. We understand that our screening capability is not at the level that is required.

“We know that the ventilators that many hospitals have received are the wrong types of ventilators and there are big questions as to whether we went into this lockdown too slowly, and now we hear the Prime Minister missed five meetings at the start of this outbreak.”

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