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Boris Johnson defends virus record after former colleague’s attack


Health Secretary Matt Hancock also retaliated after being thrown out for criticism in a provocative attack on the government by Dominic Cummings.

Cummings, who quit his job as Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s top adviser in November, claimed the government’s slow and chaotic initial response, and Johnson’s failure to learn from his mistakes meant thousands died unnecessarily.

“People did not get the treatment they deserved. Many were left to die in appalling circumstances, ”he said in the testimony of MPs.

Cummings – whose pivotal role in the campaign to get Britain out of the European Union helped propel pro-Brexit Johnson to prime ministership – said Johnson was “unfit for the job”.

Johnson dismissed the criticism, saying, “Some of the comments I’ve heard have nothing to do with reality.”

“It has been an incredibly difficult series of decisions, none of which we have taken lightly,” Johnson said. He stated that “at every level, we are governed by a determination to save lives, to protect lives.”

He told reporters on Thursday, “People want us to move forward (reopen) the road map and cautiously, trying to take our country forward through one of the most difficult times, which I think That anyone can remember. ” .

Cummings accused Hancock of lying to the public, saying that he “should be fired” for mistakes, including test failures in which patients with the virus were discharged from hospitals to nursing homes. Thousands of people with COVID-19 died in British care homes in the first months of the outbreak.

“The baseless allegations about honesty are not true,” Hancock said.

In the House of Commons, he told legislators, “I have been directly with the public, both privately and privately.” “Every day since I started working on the response to this epidemic last January, I woke up every morning and asked: ‘What should I do to protect life?”

“Cummings’s allegations are either correct, and if so, the Secretary of State (Hancock) stands potentially in violation of the Ministerial Code… he said.” Whose is it? “

The UK has recorded around 128,000 coronovirus deaths, the highest toll in Europe, and has experienced one of the world’s deepest recessions in 2020 as three consecutive lockdowns hit the economy.

The government says it will launch an independent public inquiry to deal with the epidemic within the next year. Opposition politicians, and families who have lost loved ones to COVID-19, want it to start as soon as possible.

A large-scale vaccination campaign that began in December has led to a rapid reduction in infection and mortality, although the UK is now engaging with a more infectious new strain of the virus, first identified in India. It is spreading across the country and scientists expect it to become the dominant version in the UK, but they say current vaccines work against it.

About three-quarters of British adults have received one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, and 45% have taken both doses.

The government is removing the ban in phases, with the reopening of indoor eating, drinking and entertainment spots again last week, but social disturbances and mask-wearing regulations are still in force.

Hancock said it was “too early to say” whether the remaining social restrictions imposed to slow the spread of the virus could be lifted as planned on 21 June.

Johnson said removing the remaining measures will depend on how much the new version has increased cases, and the speed of the vaccination campaign.

“I don’t currently see anything in the data that suggests we need to move away from the road map,” he said. “But we may have to wait.”

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Follow all epidemic coverage of AP:

https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic

https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine

https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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