THE UK government is facing severe criticism for failing to take the coronavirus threat seriously enough and missing opportunities to implement pandemic plans.
A Sunday Times investigation claims Boris Johnson’s administration ignored dire warnings from scientists and lost “a crucial five weeks in the fight to tackle the dangerous threat of coronavirus despite being in a perilously poor state of preparation for a pandemic.”
The report says Boris skipped five Cobra meetings in January and February just as the outbreak was gathering pace and beginning to spread around the globe.
The Times quotes an unnamed senior government advisor, who slammed the Prime Minister for complacency and not carrying out “urgent crisis planning.”
“There’s no way you’re at war if your PM isn’t there,” the advisor told the newspaper.
According to the report the government made “little progress” in getting in supplies of masks and gowns in February and did not accept the British Healthcare Trades Association’s February offer to help supply personal protection equipment until the beginning of April.
The article also pointed out that the UK last staged a rehearsal for a pandemic four years ago, and said that recommendations made at the time to take action on ensuring sufficient provision of PPE and intensive care ventilators were never acted upon.
A further criticism of the government was that the focus on getting ready for a no-deal Brexit “sucked all the blood out of pandemic planning.”
A Downing Street spokesman defended the government, insisting “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.”