Boris Johnson says 'we did everything we could' to protect NHS and care homes
It's after Dominic Cummings' scathing criticism of the government on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has rejected claims from his former aide Dominic Cummings that tens of thousands of people died of Covid because of government failings, and has insisted that he and the government did "everything we could" to save lives.
Asked whether tens of thousands died because of government action or inaction, the prime minister told reporters: "No I don’t think so."
The PM was also asked whether Cummings was telling the truth during his extraordinary appearance in front of a cross-party committee on Wednesday. Johnson refused to answer, saying: "I make no comment on that."
However he did tell reporters: "Some of the commentary I've heard doesn't bear any relation to reality."
As part of some of the evidence Cummings gave to MPs on Wednesday, the former aide to the Prime Minister claimed it was "nonsense" to say that care homes were protected during the first wave of the pandemic. He also suggested that Health Secretary Matt Hancock lied in meetings about people being tested for Covid before being released from hospital and sent back to care homes.
On Thursday, Hancock denied the claims.
“Some of the commentary I’ve heard doesn’t bear any relation to reality”
PM Boris Johnson responds to comments from his former chief adviser Dominic Cummingshttps://t.co/9x1Snp5dqH pic.twitter.com/wUAIdVXKXx
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) May 27, 2021
The Prime Minister told reporters: "We did everything we could to protect the NHS and to protect care homes as well.
"We put £1.4bn extra into infection control within care homes, we established a care homes action plan, I remember very clearly, to ensure that we tried to stop infection between care homes. We remain very vigilant."
Cummings repeatedly claimed that the government had no plans in place to deal with the pandemic, saying that this meant that the country was slow to lock down in March 2020.
However the Prime Minister insisted that at every stage the government had been "governed by a determination to protect life, save life, to ensure that our NHS is not overwhelmed."
He said: "This has been an incredibly difficult series of decisions, none of which we have taken lightly.
"You've got to recognise, and I hope people do understand this, that when you go into a lockdown it's a very, very painful, a traumatic thing for people's mental health, for their lives and their livelihoods.
"And of course you've get to set that against the horrors of the pandemic and of Covid.
"And at every stage we have been governed by a determination to protect life, to save life, to ensure that our NHS is not overwhelmed, and we followed to the best we can the data and the guidance we've had."