Matt Hancock has rejected advice for all residents visiting an English care home to be given coronavirus tests, an investigation based on allegations leaked of more than 100,000 WhatsApp messages.
The MP denied the “distorted account”, with a spokesman accusing journalist Isabel Oakeshott of “spinning to fit an anti-lockdown agenda” the leaked messages after working on her pandemic diary memoir.
The Telegraph’s investigation claims that the Chief Medical Officer for England, Professor Sir Chris Whitty, told the then Health Secretary in April 2020 that there should be testing to “go to all care homes”.
But messages suggest Hancock rejected the guidance, told an aide to “muddy the waters”, and introduced mandatory testing for those arriving from hospitals.
The inquiry said Hancock expressed concern that expanding Care’s home testing could “get in the way” of the target of 100,000 daily coronavirus tests.
A spokesman for Hancock said the former health secretary was “considering all options” in response to the leak, with a source close to her telling the PA Media news agency: “She has broken a legal NDA (non-disclosure agreement). His behavior is disrespectful.
The spokesman said: “Having not been contacted by The Telegraph earlier, we have reviewed the messages overnight. The Telegraph deliberately left out the context of the meeting with the test team from WhatsApp. This is significant, as Matt Chris Whitty’s advice held a meeting on its delivery, told it was not deliverable, and insisted on testing all those who had come from hospitals.
“The Telegraph has been informed that their headline is incorrect, and Matt is considering all options available to him. This colossal error by Isabelle Oakeshott and the Telegraph shows why the proper venue for such analysis is the investigation, Not a partial, agenda-driven leak of classified documents.
The “Lockdown Files” investigation also included:
It has been claimed that the authorities couriered a Covid test for one of his children to Jacob Rees-Mogg despite a shortage of tests.
Hancock told the former Chancellor George Osborne, then editor of the Evening Standard, “I want to get my way!” as he pushed for favorable front-page coverage.
Oakeshott, who has described the lockdown as an “unmitigated disaster”, said she was releasing the message because it would take “many years” before the end of the official Covid investigation, which she claimed was a “huge”. Whiteness” can be.
“That’s why I’ve decided to release this sensational cache of private communications – because we can’t wait any longer for answers,” she said.
In a message, Hancock said Whitty had completed a review and recommended “testing of everyone going into care homes, and isolation while awaiting results”.
Hancock described it as “obviously a good positive move”.
However, the inquiry said he later replied to an aide: “Tell me if I’m wrong, but I’ll leave it at that and just commit to testing and isolating everyone in hospital care. I don’t.” Community commitment seems to add up to something and it muddys the waters.”
Hancock’s spokesman said “the Telegraph’s story is wrong”, arguing that “rather than spin and leaks we need a full, comprehensive investigation”.
“It is outrageous that this distorted account of the pandemic is being pushed, with partial leaks, to fit an anti-lockdown agenda that, if followed, would have cost hundreds of thousands of lives. The message they show is that many people are working hard to save lives,” the spokesperson said.
“Those who argue that the lockdown should not have happened, ignore the fact that five lakh people would have died if we had not done the lockdown. And for those who say we should never lock down again, imagine if a disease killed half the people infected, and half the population was going to be infected – as with avian flu in birds right now. is happening with If this disease was in humans then definitely we would have wanted to lock down.
He continued: “The story based on care homes is completely wrong. What the message shows is that Mr Hancock pushed for testing of care home goers when that testing was available. Full documents for investigation have already been made available, which is the proper place for an objective assessment, so the right lessons can be learned.”
In September 2020, during a severe backlog in testing, messages suggest that an adviser to Hancock helped send a test to the home of senior conservative Rees-Mogg.
The aide sent a message to Hancock to say that the lab had “lost” the original test for one of the then Commons leader’s children, “so we’ve got a courier going to his family home tonight”.
He added: “Jacob’s spade (special advisor) is aware and has helped get this done, but you might want to text Jacob.”
Commenting on the claim, Daisy Cooper, deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, said: “This is yet more evidence that this is one rule for Conservative ministers and different for everyone else. The Covid inquiry should look into those reports Conservative ministers who were able to obtain priority at the trials at a time of national shortage.
As he struggled to meet his target of 100,000 coronavirus tests per day, the investigation reveals Hancock texted his former boss Osborne to “call in a favour”.
Hancock said he has thousands of additional testing slots, which is “good news about the spread of the virus” but “harder for me to target” as he asked for front-page coverage.
Osborne replied: “Yes – absolutely – all you have to do tomorrow is give the standard some special wording and I’ll ask the team to print it.”
The then Health Secretary later said: “I want to hit my target!”