UK health minister's team rejects allegations from ex-UK PM aide

BRITAIN-HEALTH-VIRUS-PANDEMIC

Britain's government "disastrously" failed the public by mishandling its coronavirus pandemic response, former top adviser Dominic Cummings told politicians on Wednesday, calling Prime Minister Boris Johnson "unfit for the job".

Boris Johnson's government lacked plans, brains, urgency and leadership, the ex-aide said.

"I think we are absolutely fucked", Cummings said, quoting McNamara.

The border policy is still inadequate, he said, partly because the Prime Minister was dealing with "Tory MPs going crackers about it". "We have worked flat out to minimise loss of life, to protect the NHS, while they [the opposition] have flip-flopped from one position to another".

United Kingdom leader Boris Johnson wanted to get injected with COVID-19 on live TV to prove there was "nothing to be frightened of" - just weeks before it nearly killed him, his former chief adviser told Parliament Wednesday.

He is also expected to lead a coronavirus press conference later in the day.

Mr Cummings left his role in Downing Street towards the end of 2020 following a power struggle inside No 10 and has since been highly critical of the government.

His evidence before lawmakers gave an alarming insight into the heart of the British government as it grappled with the onset of what would become the most devastating public health crisis in a century. Cummings said there was no COVID plan and certainly no plan for a lockdown.

He said Sedwill said Johnson should "go on tv and explain that it's like the old chicken pox parties".

At 2.59 lakhs, India records lowest daily Covid cases in a month
The United States (US) remains the worst hit in terms of total infected followed by India, Brazil, France and Turkey. In the capital, New Delhi , residents have died at home with no oxygen as hospitals exhausted limited supplies.

"The view of various officials inside Number Ten was, if we have the Prime Minister chairing Cobra meetings and he just tells everyone "It is swine flu, don't worry about it, I'm going to get Chris Whitty to inject me live on TV with coronavirus, so everyone realizes it is nothing to be to be frightened of, ' that would be, that would not help actually serious planning", Cummings said". "I think this country is heading for a disaster".

He added that the head of the civil service said: "I have lost confidence in the secretary of state's honesty in these meetings".

Speaking at a Politico Live event, International Trade Secretary Liz Truss defended Mr Hancock as "an excellent colleague who is doing a very good job in what has been a very tough global pandemic". He did not directly address many of Cummings's claims.

Mr Johnson grew more resistant to scientific advice, Mr Cummings said, confirming media reports that the British leader said he would rather let "bodies pile high" than lockdown again later in 2020.

In response, Mr Johnson told parliament he took "full responsibility" but insisted decision-making during the pandemic had been "appallingly difficult" and the government "acted throughout with the intention to save life.in accordance with the best scientific advice".

Cummings said that was contrary to briefings from the government's health experts, who had said some patients had not received necessary treatment.

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

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.

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