A new video by a group of campaigners, giving a damning account of the government’s bungled attempts to contain the coronavirus in Britain, has been projected on to Barnard Castle.
Created by the Led By Donkeys campaigners, and narrated by former Newsnight presenter Gavin Esler, the almost 10-minute long recording outlines government missteps and missed opportunities to contain the virus.
The creators of the footage, dubbed Johnson and Cummings: A Timeline of Failure (Part One), accuse the government of failing to properly address the threat of coronavirus during its early days.
It showcases how Downing Street reacted to the virus when it was first declared in December 2019 up until May 5, when the UK was reported to have the highest death toll from the virus in Europe.
In the video, which lists a timeline of disastrous measures, the group explains how Boris Johnson retreated to Chequers and announced his engagement to his fiancée Carrie Symonds the same day he was warned that Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at NHS trusts was running dangerously low.
‘On February 29, NHS bosses warn of PPE shortages and a ‘nightmare’ facing the health service but PPE stockpiles have been left to severely dwindle or go out of date. On the same say, Johnson retreats to Chequers to announce his engagement and his fiancée’s pregnancy,’ the narrator says.
It also shows a string of decisions that may have helped the disease spread in Britain, including the go-ahead of the Cheltenham races and a home game football match between Liverpool and Atletico Madrid in March as case numbers began to increase. Both events drew hundreds of thousands of spectators and is believed to have led to a spike in cases in both area.
Activists also underlined the fact Johnson missed five COBRA meetings between January and March, which left a senior Downing Street advisor to say the following: ‘There’s no way you’re at war if your PM isn’t there and what you learn about Boris was that he didn’t chair any meetings.
‘He likes his country breaks and didn’t work weekends. There was a real sense that he didn’t do urgent crisis planning.
‘It’s exactly like people feared he would be.’
Johnson did not attending a COBRA meeting until March 2. The first gathering took place on January 24.
The campaigners also explained why a consignment of PPE from Turkey has to be thrown away and were able to get a health official on record saying that government strategy to place actively ill elderly Covid-19 patients into care homes was akin to ‘actively seeding’ the virus ‘into the very population that was most vulnerable’.
It was projected on to the infamous beauty spot in County Durham where Johnson’s most senior adviser headed to ‘test his eyesight’ after breaking lockdown rules.
Reacting to the footage on Twitter, one user by the name @NearlyThere19 said: ‘A thorough walk through some of the main government failures in its handling of #COVID19. And still it continues…’
@BremainInSpain wrote: ‘Another great one by @ByDonkeys,’ while Rob Yates said it was ‘compulsive watching for all UK voters’.
Dr Sue Roffey said: ‘Just one fact after another about how the government prevaricated and lied until we had the highest death roll in Europe.’