Piers Morgan slams government over missing coronavirus testing figures

Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid on Good Morning Britain; Twitter

Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid on Good Morning Britain; Twitter - Credit: Archant

Piers Morgan has slammed the government for not releasing critical coronavirus testing figures, claiming it was a case of 'smoke and mirrors'.

The presenter blasted the government over refusing to release pillar two testing figures which show the number of people tested outside of hospitals, calling the move 'a total scam'.

'It's blatant lying again. It's a total scam. There are two pillars of cases and they're only identifying the first one, which is the very insular one involving health care workers and key workers who get testing.

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'They're not including the vast majority of cases, so this has snuck up on the people of Leicester without them knowing,' he told viewers.

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He went on: 'This is the government data on cases and this is why there's no trust in the government – because they're once again smoke and mirrors.

'If Matt Hancock had the guts to come on here we'd be asking why have they not been including pillar two. 'Why have you not been including the vast majority of cases? Why have you allowed this to happen?''

'How can you plan if you don't know the full extent of positive tests in your area?' co-host Susanna Reid added.

The government is using the testing data to determine when to introduce localised lockdown but it only releasing a small portion of the numbers being tested and has withheld much of it from local authorities in charge of a shutdown.

In fact, the publicly-available statistics have omitted 90% of new cases, the FT reports.

Speaking about the findings, FT journalist John Burn-Murdoch, who broke the story, said the figures were 'garbage'.

'There are all sorts of websites, including the government's own site, which purports to show the number of new cases in a number of local areas and it turns out they are using only the pillar one data,' he told Morgan and Reed.

Case numbers are split between two categories: Pillar One - which covers tests conducted in hospital, and Pillar Two; which are undertaken by private contractors hired out by the government.

The Leicester Mercury says that 90% of the city's most recent cases fell within Pillar Two, leaving local authorities in the dark over the rising number of cases.

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