Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has defended an official COVID-19 inquiry as the “right way” to scrutinise the handling of the pandemic after former Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s WhatsApp messages were published in a British newspaper.
Based on a trove of more than 100,000 WhatsApp messages, The Daily Telegraph newspaper claimed on March 1 that England’s Chief Medical Officer Sir Chris Whitty advised Hancock in April 2020 that everyone going into care homes should be tested for COVID-19.
The relevant exchanges, from April 14, 2020, suggested that Hancock rejected the guidance, telling an aide the move just “muddies the waters” and introduced mandatory testing only for those coming from hospitals rather than the community.
Following the report, Hancock, who resigned in June 2021, disputed the claims made by the Telegraph, calling them “flat wrong,” and claiming the messages had been “spun to fit an anti-lockdown agenda.”
Hancock had willingly given his WhatsApp messages to journalist Isabel Oakeshott to co-write a book called “Pandemic Diaries.”
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In a piece in The Telegraph, titled “I had to release Matt Hancock’s COVID WhatsApp messages to avoid a whitewash,” Oakeshott wrote that following his resignation in June 2021, he downloaded the records from his phone and shared them with various people, including her.
“Suffice to say there was plenty of important material left over,” she said, calling the texts “a vital historical record at a time when we need urgent answers.”
Oakeshott, who has described COVID-19 lockdowns as an “unmitigated disaster,” said she was releasing the messages because it would take “many years” before the end of the official inquiry into the pandemic response, which she claimed could be a “colossal whitewash.”
“That’s why I’ve decided to release this sensational cache of private communications—because we absolutely cannot wait any longer for answers,” she said.
When COVID-19 vaccines were being produced, the UK government employed an over-purchasing approach to ensure sufficient supply even if one or more of them failed to work. However, there is no evidence to suggest that anyone should get COVID vaccines, according to a UK mathematician.
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