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02nd Mar 2023

Ex-minister behind covid Test and Trace reveals government considered killing every cat in UK

Steve Hopkins

‘Imagine what would have happened if we had wanted to do that?’

The government reportedly considered killing all cats in the UK at the start of the covid  pandemic.

Lord Bethall, who headed the NHS Test and Trace, explained so little was known about the virus when it first broke out in Wuhan, China, in November 2019 – before the first case was detected in the UK on 28 February 2020 – that there were concerns about whether it could be transmitted by pets. In China, horrifying videos later emerged of authorities killing pets by any means possible – including with a spade.

The hereditary peer, who served as Matt Hancock‘s deputy in the Department of Health and Social Care from 2020 to 2021, told Channel 4 News: “What we shouldn’t forget is how little we understood about this disease. There was a moment we were very unclear about whether domestic pets could transmit the disease.

“In fact, there was an idea at one moment that we might have to ask the public to exterminate all the cats in Britain. Can you imagine what would have happened if we had wanted to do that?

“And yet, for a moment there was a bit of evidence around so that had to be investigated and closed down.”

Lord Bethell’s remarks comes as Hanock strenuously denies allegations that he failed to follow expert advice to test all people entering into care homes during the pandemic, after The Telegraph examined more than 100,000 WhatsApp messages.

The MP has denied the “distorted account” with a spokesman alleging the messages leaked by journalist Isabel Oakeshott after she worked on his Pandemic Diaries memoir have been “spun to fit an anti-lockdown agenda”.

A spokesperson for Hancock added the messages had been “doctored”.

The Tele suggested Hancock did not believe committing to testing those from the community – including care home staff – was needed and only “muddies the waters”.

Guidance from the Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty, in April 2020 was that there should be testing for “all going into care homes”. Testing was implemented for all people entering care homes in August 2020.

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