UK Health Secy denies allegation of lying about pandemic

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock has denied an allegation that he lied about the Covid-19 pandemic, saying “we have been straight with people”.

In response to an attack by former Downing Street top aid Dominic Cummings, Hancock told the House of Commons on Thursday: “These allegations that were put yesterday are serious allegations and I welcome the opportunity to come to the house to put formally on the record that these unsubstantiated allegations around honesty are not true.

“I’ve been straight with people in public and in private throughout. We’ve taken an approach of openness and transparency and spoke of what we do and don’t know.”

One of the allegations by Cummings on Wednesday was that Hancock lied about testing people for Covid-19 before they returned to care homes, reports Xinhua news agency.

Addressing the issue, Hancock said: “We followed the clinical advice on the appropriate way forward. So many of the allegations were unsubstantiated.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson also denied the claim by Cummings that thousands of people needlessly died because of his leadership.

During a visit to a hospital on Thursday, Johnson said: “No, I don’t think so. But of course, this has been an incredibly difficult series of decisions, none of which we’ve taken lightly, and you’ve got to recognize, and I hope people do understand this, that when you go into a lockdown it’s a very very painful, traumatic thing for people, for people’s mental health, for their lives, their livelihoods, and of course you’ve got to set that against the horrors of the pandemic and of Covid.”

Cummings stepped down from his role in Downing Street last year following a reported power struggle.