PM delayed lockdown
Prime Minister Boris Johnson rejected a lockdown last Autumn, preferring instead to let Covid “wash through the country” because he thought only people aged 80+ were dying, his ex-advisor Dominic Cummings claims.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking at last night's Downing Street briefing.
In an interview, scheduled to be broadcast at 7pm tonight on BBC Two, Dominic Cummings told the BBC that he, UK chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance and England's chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty urged greater Covid restrictions from mid-September 2020 but Mr Johnson had said: "No, no no, no, no, I'm not doing it."
‘Hardly anyone under 60 goes into hospital’
In a WhatsApp message sent on 15 October, Mr Johnson said the "median age" for those dying was between 81 and 82 for men and 85 for women, the prime minister allegedly wrote, adding: "That is above life expectancy. So get Covid and Live longer.
"Hardly anyone under 60 goes into hospital... and of those virtually all survive. And I no longer buy all this NHS overwhelmed stuff.
“Folks I think we may need to recalibrate... There are max 3m in this country aged over 80."
He reportedly wrote: "It shows we don't go for nationwide lockdown."
Care Minister: 922 care workers aged 20-64 died of Covid since pandemic start
The allegations follow Care minister Helen Whately's recent (13 July) written answer to a parliamentary question from Labour MP Diana Johnson to confirm that 922 social care workers aged from 20 to 64 years old had died from Covid-19 since 9 March 2020 to 7 May 2021, based on Office for National Statistics data.
The Prime Minister announced a four-week lockdown for England on 31 October 2020.
Mr Cummings told BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg that, at the start of the pandemic last year, Mr Johnson wanted to continue meeting weekly face-to-face with the Queen (aged 93-years-old at the time). Mr Cummings claims he was forced to warn his boss that Her Majesty might die if she caught Covid-19 from him.
The ex-advisor claimed that on 18 March 2020, the PM had said: "I'm going to see the Queen... That's what I do every Wednesday. Sod this. I'm going to go and see her."
Mr Cummings claims to have told the PM: "If you give her coronavirus and she dies, what are you going to [do]? You can't do that. You can't risk that. That's completely insane."
The former advisor has been criticised for failing to give evidence to back up some of his claims against the current government. Responding to Mr Cumming’s claims, Downing Street said: "Since the start of the pandemic, the prime minister has taken the necessary action to protect lives and livelihoods, guided by the best scientific advice.
"The government he leads has delivered the fastest vaccination rollout in Europe, saved millions of jobs through the furlough scheme and prevented the NHS from being overwhelmed through three national lockdowns."
PM: Social care has 'bedevilled governments' for three decades
Mr Johnson is currently self-isolating after Health Secretary Sajid Javid tested positive for Covid.
In last night's Downing Street briefing about the lifting of Covid restrictions from 19 July, Mr Johnson said: "Though both hospitalisations and deaths are sadly rising, these numbers are well within the margins of what our scientists predicted at the outset of the roadmap. And so it is right to proceed cautiously in the way that we are."
When asked about social care reform plans, Mr Johnson said the problem of social care had "bedevilled governments for at least three decades".
"All I can say is we've waited three decades, you're just going to have to wait a little bit longer,' he added.
"I'm sorry about that, but it won't be too long now, I assure you."