Matt Hancock mocked for praising Daily Mail initiative to fundraise for PPE for NHS workers

Daily Mail front page (left) and Matt Hancock during a coronavirus briefing (right)

Daily Mail front page (left) and Matt Hancock during a coronavirus briefing (right) - Credit: Archant

Matt Hancock was harpooned on social media after tweeting support for a private initiative to supply the NHS with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) from China.

The health secretary praised a Daily Mail fundraiser that will supply the NHS with more than £1 million in protective kit from China on Twitter.

The tweet, accompanied by a copy of the Daily Mail front page and the words 'A brilliant initiative from @DailyMailUK in our national effort to tackle #coronavirus', was quickly mocked by Twitter users.

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Charlier Kennaugh tweeted: 'Am I just being a silly billy when I think that buying essential equipment for our NHS staff and key workers ought to be your job as Her Majesty's Government's Health Secretary?'

Ian Harris agreed, posting: 'I have another brilliant initiative idea though. Our government, who funds the NHS through the tax that we pay, to the tune of £130bn a year, perhaps should be doing this? If the Daily Mail can do this, you - the government - should be doing this?'

Hackney councillor for energy, Jon Burke, questioned the paper's good will: 'Let's set aside for a moment that this is the secretary of state for health openly admitting he has manifestly failed to do his job, and focus on the fact that the Daily Mail is owned by tax-exile worth £800 million.'

Frankie Boyle joked about a national newspaper PPE supply chain: 'Now all we need is for the Daily Star to source some ventilators, and the Metro to start working on a vaccine.'

The government has come under sustained fire for its lack of preparedness for the coronavirus epidemic.

A Department of Health spokesperson has previously said: 'This is an unprecedented global pandemic and we have taken the right steps at the right time to combat it, guided at all times by the best scientific advice.

'The government has been working day and night to battle against coronavirus, delivering a strategy designed at all times to protect our NHS and save lives.'

So far, 82 NHS staff and 16 care workers have died from the virus, with more than 21,000 deaths overall. Deaths from care homes and the wider community will now be added to the daily national death toll.

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