British govt’s Covid policy failed the nation, says Johnson’s former adviser

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s former chief advisor, Dominic Cummings, waits for a taxi as he leaves the Parliament Building after presenting evidence at a Parliamentary Commission hearing in London on May 26. The British government has repeatedly mistreated its response to the coronavirus pandemic, failing people “miserably”. , Ultimately, Cummings told lawmakers Wednesday that Prime Minister Boris Johnson was “unfit for work.” — AFP

London: The British government has failed the public “miserably” by mishandling the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, former chief advisor Boris Johnson and Brexit architect Dominic Cummings told legislators on Wednesday.

Cummings, a divisive figure who played a unique and powerful role in the Johnson administration before resigning in December, said in a contemptuous account of the early days of the crisis that senior ministers and officials had “completely failed” the appropriate plan.

Covid-19 has killed nearly 128,000 people in the UK (the fifth highest official death toll in the world), and the virus has been documented in more than 152,000 British death certificates as an indication of its real impact.

Cummings accused Johnson of branding the coronavirus as a “fearful story” and being too reluctant to impose lockdowns due to economic implications. He also attacked Johnson’s leadership, assessing the crisis as the example of “a lion continues to lead a donkey.”

And he repeatedly nominated Health Secretary Matt Hancock with extraordinary criticism, claiming that he had lied to his colleagues several times and could be fired for “at least 15 to 20 things”.

“The truth is that high-ranking ministers, high-ranking officials, and high-ranking advisors like me miserably fall short of the standard that the public has the right to expect governments in crisis situations.

“Most governments failed when the public needed us,” he added. “I apologize to all families of those who died needlessly.”

In response, Johnson told Congress that he was “full responsibility”, but insisted that decision-making was “extremely difficult” during the pandemic.

“I maintain my claim that the government acted according to the best scientific advice… with the intention of saving lives.”

The testimony of Cummings, a strategist for the’Go Out’ campaign at the 2016 Brexit referendum, has raised a lot of anticipation since it began attacking Johnson’s coronavirus policy and financial transactions in recent weeks.

During hours of questioning at Congress’s Health and Scientific Investigation Committee, he admitted that “many institutions around the world have failed” in the early handling of the pandemic.

But he criticized high-ranking British officials for not grasping the severity of the situation.

“A lot of people were literally skiing in mid-February,” Cummings said.

He accused officials of a “catastrophic” group accident, and pursued a so-called contingent strategy of herd immunity before giving up belatedly when the death toll became apparent.

Cummings said the UK’s top officials had suggested in mid-March that Johnson could encourage meetings to spread the infection and strengthen immunity.

After the alien invasion, Cummings realized a scene from the movie’Independence Day’ and officials realized the situation, saying, “There is no plan. “We are in big trouble,” he admitted.

He added, “Over January, February and March, the Prime Minister’s view… the real danger here is not disease, but the real danger here is the steps taken to cope with the disease and the resulting economic destruction.” It. .

Cummings was appointed Senior Advisor when Johnson came to power in July 2019 to help him win the December elections that year. However, frequent clashes with his colleagues resulted in constant tension, and he left the government a year later.

When he was 49, on a long cross-country trip with his family, he was accused of undermining the government’s shutdown message in the early days of the pandemic.

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