Claims of protective shield around care homes 'complete nonsense'

26 May 2021, 16:07 | Updated: 26 May 2021, 16:27

Matt Hancock claimed there was a protective ring around care homes
Matt Hancock claimed there was a protective ring around care homes. Picture: Getty

By Daisy Stephens

Dominic Cummings has told MPs that the protective ring the government claimed to have put around care homes during the Covid-19 pandemic was "complete nonsense".

Boris Johnson’s former chief advisor made the claim whilst giving evidence to a joint meeting of both the Science and Technology Select Committee and the Health and Social Care Select Committee, titled "Coronavirus: lessons learnt".

“Hancock told us that people were going to be tested before they went back to care homes, what the hell happened?” he said of Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

"Quite the opposite of putting a shield round them, we sent people with Covid back to the care homes."

He said that care home testing was “complete chaos”.

Read more: Cummings: Health Secretary Matt Hancock should have been fired for lying

Read more: PM did make 'let bodies pile high in their thousands' comment, Cummings claims

It is the latest in a series of explosive accusations made by Mr Cummings.

He told MPs that Mr Hancock should have been fired for multiple offences, something that he claims then cabinet secretary Mark Sedwill also recommended.

"Like in much of the Government system, there were many brilliant people at relatively junior and middle levels who were terribly let down by senior leadership," he said.

"I think the Secretary of State for Health should've been fired for at least 15, 20 things, including lying to everybody on multiple occasions in meeting after meeting in the Cabinet room and publicly.”

He also alleged that Mr Hancock withheld tests during April 2020 in order to enable the government to reach their target of 100,000 test per day by the end of the month, something he called "criminal, disgraceful behaviour that caused serious harm".

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called Mr Cummings' evidence "the latest chapter of a story of confusion, chaos and deadly misjudgements from this government".

He put a number of Mr Cummings’ accusations to Boris Johnson at Prime Ministers Questions, but Mr Johnson rejected the allegations.

“We have, at every stage, tried to minimise loss of life, to save lives, protect the NHS, and we have followed the best scientific advice that we can.”

He said a number of specific accusations, such as the reasoning behind and timing of the November lockdown, would be investigated during the public inquiry in 2022.