Matt Hancock tweets new coronavirus advice - but people had to pay to read it

PUBLISHED: 23:38 14 March 2020 | UPDATED: 12:04 15 March 2020

Health Secretary Matt Hancock arrives in Downing Street, London, ahead of a meeting of the government's emergency committee Cobra to discuss coronavirus. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock arrives in Downing Street, London, ahead of a meeting of the government's emergency committee Cobra to discuss coronavirus. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire.

Matt Hancock’s latest coronavirus update has been met with ridicule - after the link he included with an update on his plan required people to pay to read it.

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Boris Johnson (centre), alongside new Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak (second right), Cabinet Secretary Mark Sedwill (second left), Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey (right) and Health Secretary Matt Hancock (left). Photograph: Matt Dunham/PA Wire.Boris Johnson (centre), alongside new Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak (second right), Cabinet Secretary Mark Sedwill (second left), Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey (right) and Health Secretary Matt Hancock (left). Photograph: Matt Dunham/PA Wire.

The health secretary used a column in the Tory-supporting Sunday Telegraph to update the public on what the government was doing next to tackle the COVID-19 disease.

But as he posted a link to the story, which revealed its next phase of its plans, it appeared behind a newspaper paywall which followers could not read without subscribing.

Twitter users were unimpressed as they furiously responded to Hancock to point out the problem.

'Could you maybe write this somewhere without a fucking paywall?' wrote James Felton. 'This is an explanation of a plan that could cost or save lives during a pandemic, not Premium Content.'

'Typical Tory...' posted @mancman11. 'It's behind a pay well when in a national health crisis you should be speaking to a paper where everyone can read it for free!'

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'In the middle of the biggest health crisis since 1919 and the Health Secretary puts his plan behind a paywall', said Sarah Calvert.

'It's behind a sodding paywall in the middle of a health emergency', noted journalist Jim Waterson.

'I can't read this as I don't have a Telegraph login on my phone, please could you put it where it should be, on the Hancock app', joked Buzzfeed UK editor Alan White.

'Shame on you for using a health crisis to bolster your friends' fortune,' tweeted Aaron Vincent.

'Screw the offshore billionaire Barclays and their bleeding paywall: communicate directly with the British public, including the ones whose lives are mere numbers on your weirdos' scraps of paper.'

The Telegraph eventually lifted the paywall, but not before Hancock had been truly derided for using the newspaper to announce his plans.

'Perhaps an announcement in front of the health ministry or in the Commons rather than in a pay walled newspaper in future. Might do to remember you work for voters not newspaper editors,' suggested one.

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