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Earlier lockdown could have saved lives of 30,000, Hancock tells Covid inquiry

Earlier lockdown could have saved lives of 30,000, Hancock tells Covid inquiry

Earlier lockdown could have saved lives of 30,000, Hancock tells Covid inquiry
Nov 30, 2023 1 min, 7 secs

While repeatedly critical of Cummings, calling him “a malign actor” who spread misinformation, Hancock did not blame dysfunction in No 10 for the delay, saying that at the time the progress of the virus was unclear whereas the consequences of lockdown were “known and huge”.

Hancock nonetheless painted a vivid picture of personality clashes and what he termed “a power grab” by Cummings, also saying he was not told about the then chancellor Rishi Sunak’s flagship “Eat out to help out” scheme to subsidise restaurant meals in summer 2020 until the day it was announced.

Hancock also came under intense and sometimes difficult questioning from Hugo Keith KC, the inquiry lead counsel, who challenged him to provide evidence for his claim that he urged Johnson to order a lockdown on 13 March 2020, and forced an admission that the claim of a “protective ring” around care homes had been misleading.

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Keith challenged Hancock about his comment at a Covid press conference in mid-May 2020 that ministers had placed “a protective ring” around care homes from the start of the pandemic, which the former health secretary accepted was in retrospect misleading.

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