Europe

BBC QT: George Eustice sparks fury after defending government’s coronavirus response

Mr Eustice was a guest on Question Time alongside Nick Thomas-Symonds MP, businessman Juergen Maier, NHS Providers Chief Executive Chris Hopson, and author Afua Hirsch yesterday. In particular, Mr Eustice faced questions from host Fiona Bruce over why the government is now warning against making international comparisons regarding Covid-19 statistics.

Mr Eustice said: “It’s very difficult to make these international comparisons, because different countries are recording deaths in different ways.

“Different countries have different circumstances. London is a huge city with a big public transport system – that could have had an impact early on.

“There will be a time and a place to reflect and learn lessons from this at the end of it, but for now we are dealing with this epidemic.”

But Bruce said that the UK did not express any concern regarding international comparisons nearer to the beginning of the pandemic when the UK’s death rate was lower than that of other European countries.

She added: “Now that we’re above them, the government’s very keen to point out that we shouldn’t be making those comparisons, but you never said that earlier on.”

Mr Eustice replied that “we weren’t making comparisons,” but had been tracking the death rates in all countries.

Fiona Bruce then argued that the government still did not “warn us off” making such comparisons back then, claiming that that is what the government is trying to do now.

Mr Eustice appeared not to answer this; he instead went on to defend why the country went into lockdown when it did.

Mr Eustice said that “the belief all along, which I think was correct” was that the UK was around two to three weeks behind other countries such as Italy and France.

But the UK was initially “on a different trajectory,” he said, which is why the country did not lock down when, for example, Italy did.

Mr Eustice continued: “But it’s not true that we weren’t prepared. There were all sorts of COBRA meetings and planning meetings that were taking place on this, right from January onwards.

“But it was the case that the scientific advice was not that we should have locked down earlier than we did.

DON’T MISS
BBC QT: Author lashes out at government for ‘congratulating itself’ [VIDEO]
US PPP loans: Shocking report shows some claimants did not need help [REVEALED]
Trump splashes out on anti-Biden adverts as US election race heats up [INSIGHT]

“As soon as the advice was that we should lock down, that’s exactly what we did.”

But some viewers were not satisfied by Mr Eustice’s denial that the UK was not prepared for the epidemic.

One said on Twitter: “If they were prepared I’d hate to think what would be happening if they hadn’t been ready!”

And another wrote: “George Eustice saying we were prepared when we didn’t have PPE or ventilators. Also blatantly trying to blame ‘scientific advice’ for epic govt failings. Utterly disgraceful.”

Meanwhile, the Guardian has leaked a secret government report from three years ago which claimed that the UK was not prepared for a pandemic.

Codenamed Exercise Cygnus, the report was based on the results of a government simulation of a flu outbreak.

The Guardian claims that the report is likely to raise questions over whether or not ministers implemented the report’s recommendations regarding the care home sector.

But Health Secretary Matt Hancock, when asked about the report, said that “everything that was recommended was done.”

Care homes are now a key area of concern for the UK’s Covid-19 outbreak, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson telling parliament on Wednesday that “there is an epidemic going on in care homes.”

Source: Read Full Article