Dominic Cummings hits out at Government over coronavirus ‘catastrophe’

·2-min read

Dominic Cummings has blamed the Government’s secrecy over the coronavirus response for the “catastrophe” in spring 2020.

Boris Johnson’s former aide said the Covid plan was supposed to be “world class” but turned out to be “part disaster, part non-existent”.

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He said public scrutiny was now essential to examine how the Government will respond to a variant of the virus which can escape vaccines.

Mr Cummings, who left Downing Street in November after a behind-the-scenes power struggle, is due to give evidence to MPs on the coronavirus response on May 26.

Ahead of his appearance, Mr Cummings highlighted his concerns with the approach adopted in the early stages of the pandemic last year.

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He wrote on Twitter: “One of the most fundamental & unarguable lessons of Feb-March is that secrecy contributed greatly to the catastrophe.

“Openness to scrutiny wd have exposed Gvt errors weeks earlier than happened.”

He questioned why MPs were accepting the “lack of a public plan now” for the vaccines taskforce to respond to new variants.

“The best hedge re a variant escaping current vaccines is public scrutiny of Gvt plans,” he wrote.

“This will hopefully show it’s been taken seriously.

“If not, better learn now that the Gvt has screwed up again than when ‘variant escapes’ news breaks.”

Mr Cummings, who has seen the classified elements of the Covid-19 response, suggested the Government could make 99% of vaccine plans public without risk as national security concerns are “almost totally irrelevant to the critical parts of the problem”.

He also suggested that vaccines could have been developed faster if “human challenge” trials, where volunteers are deliberately infected with the virus, had begun immediately.

That could have meant “jabs in arms (in the) summer”, he said, but the vaccine taskforce (VTF) was “constrained” in ways they should not be.

Human challenge trials only took place this year, but the development of vaccines was rapid in comparison with work on jabs for other diseases.

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