Matt Hancock: What do the leaked WhatsApp messages reveal? , matt hancock

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Matt Hancock is facing a series of claims based on a leaked cache of more than 100,000 WhatsApp messages that provide an insight into how the UK government operated at the height of the pandemic.

They include the suggestion that, while Health Secretary, he asked England’s Chief Medical Officer, Prof. Rejected advice from Sir Chris Whitty to test everyone visiting care homes in England for COVID-19.

Hancock strongly denies clinical advice. A spokesperson called the claim “categorically untrue”.

What is the main claim?

According to the messages, Whitty told Hancock in April 2020 that there should be tests for “all going into care homes”.

On 14 April 14 2020, Hancock reported that Whitty had carried out an “evidence review” and recommended “testing of everyone going into care homes, and isolation whilst awaiting results”.

Hancock said the advice represented a “good positive step” and “we should put in the doctor”, to which an aide replied that he had sent a request “for action”.

The message comes a day before the publication of COVID-19: Our Action Plan for Adult Social Care, a government document that outlines plans to keep the care sector functioning during the pandemic.

But the April 14 exchanges suggested that Hancock ultimately rejected the guidance, telling an aide the move “muddy the waters”, and introduced mandatory testing only for those arriving from hospitals rather than the community.

Hancock said he would “drop” the commitment to test everyone entering care homes from the community and “commit to testing and isolating everyone who enters care homes from hospital”.

“I don’t think community commitment adds anything and it muddies the waters,” he said.

How has Matt Hancock reacted?

A spokeswoman said the claim that clinical advice on care home testing had been refused was “absolutely false”, as Hancock had been told it was “not currently possible” to carry out the test.

The spokeswoman said the U-turn followed an operational meeting in which Hancock was advised it was not possible to test everyone entering care homes.

“These stolen messages have been edited to create the false narrative that Matt declined clinical advice on the care home trial,” the spokesperson said. “This is almost certainly false.”

Hancock “enthusiastically accepted” Whitty’s advice, the spokesman said, but “later that day he convened an operational meeting on delivering tests to care homes where he was advised that all people currently entering care homes should be tested”. It is not possible to test, which he also accepted.

“Matt concluded that due to the high risks of transmission priority should be given to testing people leaving hospital for care homes, as it was not possible to test everyone going into care homes.”

Guidance for everyone entering care homes to be tested was not introduced until 14 August 2020. Thousands of people died of Covid between April and August 2020 in care homes in England.

Hancock has previously claimed it has placed “a protective cordon around care homes” since the start of the pandemic.

What other claims have been made?

Other WhatsApp messages show that in September 2020, when there was a large backlog in testing, one of Hancock’s advisers helped send a test to the home of Jacob 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 said: “The sword of Jacob [special adviser] Aware and helped get it done, but you might want to text Jacob.

WhatsApp messages also showed Hancock texting his ex-boss George Osborne, the former chancellor, who was then editing the Evening Standard, to “call in a favour”.

As he struggled to meet his target of 100,000 Covid tests a day, Hancock told Osborne that he had thousands of additional test slots which was “good news about the spread of the virus” but that “my target tough for” and 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.”

Hancock later said: “I want to hit my target!”

Hancock’s WhatsApp groups had names such as “Top Teams”, “Covid-19 Senior Group” and “Crisis Management” – the name of a group formed to deal with the fallout of his relationship with his colleague Gina Coladjello.

How did WhatsApp messages emerge?

The Daily Telegraph obtained more than 100,000 messages sent between Hancock and other ministers and officials at the peak of the pandemic.

The messages were given to the newspaper by journalist Isabel Oakeshott, who has been critical of the lockdown. Oakeshott was given copies of the texts, helping Hancock write his own book, Pandemic Diaries.

A Hancock spokesman said the messages had been “crafted to fit the anti-lockdown agenda”.

How has Isabel Oakeshott responded?

Oakeshott, who has described the lockdown as an “unforeseen 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.

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