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UK Government missed a series of opportunities to reduce COVID-19 impact, Sunday Times investigation claims

UK Government missed a series of opportunities to reduce COVID-19 impact, Sunday Times investigation claims

The UK government missed multiple opportunities to reduce the impact of the COVID-19 Coronavirus, it has been claimed.

According to an investigation by the Sunday Times, serious warnings from scientists were ignored and there was complacency in government in late January and February. The newspaper also said that Prime Minister Boris Johnson missed five of the government's COBRA meetings as the COVID-19 outbreak worsened.

The investigation claimed that the UK lost "a crucial five weeks in the fight to tackle the dangerous threat of coronavirus despite being in a perilously poor state of preparation for a pandemic".

In its report, the newspaper also claimed that preparations for a no-deal Brexit "sucked all the blood out of pandemic planning." It claims that the country's last rehearsal for a pandemic was in 2016, which found potential issues with a lack of PPE, however, recommendations to address such issues were never implemented.

The publishing of the investigation led to #BorisResign becoming the number one trend on Twitter for a period on Sunday.

In response to the article, a Downing Street spokesman said;

"Our response has ensured that the NHS has been given all the support it needs to ensure everyone requiring treatment has received it, as well as providing protection to businesses and reassurance to workers.

"The prime minister has been at the helm of the response to this, providing leadership during this hugely challenging period for the whole nation."

Speaking to Sky News on Sunday, Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove defended the Prime Minister and said: "The idea that the prime minister skipped meetings that were vital to our response to the coronavirus, I think is grotesque." However, in an interview on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, Mr Gove confirmed that Mr Johnson had missed the meetings, saying “most Cobra meetings don’t have the prime minister attending them". Mr Gove argued that Cobra meetings were “led by the relevant secretary of state in the relevant area”.

According to the latest figures, 15,464 people have died in UK hospitals after contracting the COVID-19 Coronavirus.


Photo Credit: Pippa Fowles / No 10 Downing Street under licence (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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