BORIS JOHNSON has been accused of mishandling the UK’s response to the coronavirus crisis, but Downing Street has published an extraordinary statement defending the Prime Minister.
Last night the Sunday Times published a damning article of Boris Johnson’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. The lengthy article stated the Prime Minister did not attend five emergency cobra meetings in January and February, prompting Michael Gove to defend the claims this morning.
The Government was also accused of failing to adequately prepare for a pandemic, especially in regards to the amounts of personal protective equipment (PPE) stockpiled and failing to organise mass testing quick enough.
But Downing Street has shot down the claims and accused the article of being riddled with “falsehoods” and errors”.
A Government spokesman said: “This article contains a series of falsehoods and errors and actively misrepresents the enormous amount of work which was going on in government at the earliest stages of the coronavirus outbreak.
“This is an unprecedented global pandemic and we have taken the right steps at the right time to combat it, guided at all times by the best scientific advice.
“The Government has been working day and night to battle against coronavirus, delivering a strategy designed at all times to protect our NHS and save lives.
“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.”
The spokesman also responded to claims the UK sent 279,000 items of its depleted PPE stockpile to China earlier this year.[contfnewc]
He said: “The equipment was not from the pandemic stockpile.
“We provided this equipment to China at the height of their need and China has since reciprocated our donation many times over.
“Between April 2 and April 15 we have received over 12 million pieces of PPE in the UK from China.
“The Department for Health began work on boosting PPE stocks in January, before the first confirmed UK case.”[contfnewc] [contfnewc]