Hancock: Care Home Deaths During Covid Were Inevitable And School Closures Could Have Been Avoided

Hancock: Care Home Deaths During Covid Were Inevitable And School Closures Could Have Been Avoided

By Ben Kerrigan-

Matt Hancock  was told people dying in care homes were often “near the end regardless” when he was warned about  the dangers of not testing in care homes.

In WhatsApp messages seen by the Covid-19 Inquiry, the former health secretary’s media adviser urged him to start testing for cases in care homes to avoid negative “front pages”.

Capeesh Restaurant

AD: Capeesh Restaurant

“Do we also need a push on testing people in care? Or at least have some sort of focused effort on testing people in care,” said Jamie Njoku-Goodwin.

“I know it is complex and the people dying in care homes are often people who were near the end regardless, but I worry that if a load of people in care start dying, there will be front pages demanding why we weren’t testing people in care homes. Do we need to get ahead of this now?”

Mr Hancock responded: “Let’s have rapid advice on this tying together all the angles,

Oysterian Sea Food Restaurant And Bar

AD: Oysterian Sea Food Restaurant And Bar

He also said action from ministers could have avoided school closures earlier.

The former health secretary told the Covid inquiry that avoiding a lockdown led to tougher measures later on.

WhatsApp messages from October 2020 revealed concerns he had that the then-Chancellor Rishi Sunak was putting “pressure” on Boris Johnson “not to do enough again”.

He accused local leaders of putting “politics over public health”.

The West Suffolk MP suggested that politicians in Greater Manchester such as the mayor, Andy Burnham, had been “actively unhelpful” when the government tried to put local restrictions in place.

The shammed former health secretary was forced to resign in June 2021 after being caught breaching social distancing guidance by kissing his aide, Gina Coladangelo while endorsing rules of social distancing for the rest of the British public.

His marriage and that of Ms Coladangelo ended as a result of the affair, making him a bad example of family life to the British public.

WhatsApp messages from October 2020 show Mr Hancock asking civil service head Simon Case for information about a meeting, from which he claims he was “blocked”.

“Rishi is in the room… so the PM will be under enormous pressure to not do enough once again,” he wrote.

Mr Case responded: “Rishi has already resigned himself to the choice ahead… his only question (and a fair one) is about nonessential retail – where obviously we have no evidence of transmission.

“He thinks better to do something in secondary schools (where we know transmission takes place) instead of closing all shops (where we know it doesn’t seem to).”

Speaking to the inquiry counsel, Hugo Keith KC, Mr Hancock rejected suggestions that there was a trade-off between health and economic considerations, adding: “If we don’t lock down there will be more deaths and we will have to have a tougher lockdown in the future.”

“So on reflection and with hindsight if we had taken action sooner in September of 2020, then we might for instance have avoided the need to close schools, which in the end we had to because cases were so high by January.”

Mr Hancock added that, by January, the situation had become so serious that every lever had to be pulled..

The UK government introduced the tier system  in the middle of October 2020, with different rules were implemented in areas according to the level of infections and hositalization.

In his statement to the inquiry, Mr Hancock said he was “in despair” when the policy was announced because he knew it “would not work”.

He argued that was because the toughest restrictions were not strong enough, but also because negotiations with local leaders had led to delay and confusion.

Mr Keith KC asked if that is what former Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance was referring to when, in his diaries, he mentioned “difficult negotiations in Manchester”.

Mr Hancock said it was and stressed that his comments related to the local leadership, adding “I have got no beef with the fine city of Manchester.”

Greater Manchester was placed into tier three restrictions on 20 October, meaning pubs and bars had to close and household mixing was restricted.

Heritage And Restaurant Lounge Bar

AD: Heritage And Restaurant Lounge Bar


Spread the news