Minister claims government was ‘well prepared’ for coronavirus outbreak

PUBLISHED: 12:52 14 April 2020 | UPDATED: 14:30 14 April 2020

Therese Coffey says the government were well prepared for the coronavirus outbreak. Photograph: BBC.

Therese Coffey says the government were well prepared for the coronavirus outbreak. Photograph: BBC.

Archant

A minister has claimed the government was ‘well prepared’ for the coronavirus outbreak on breakfast TV, despite mounting evidence showing the opposite.

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A minister has claimed the government was ‘well prepared’ for the coronavirus outbreak during a grilling on breakfast television.

Work & pensions secretary Thérèse Coffey appeared on BBC Breakfast to answer questions from Dan Walker over the government’s handling of Covid-19.

In a heated exchange, the news presenter asked Coffey three times during their onscreen interview whether the government had been prepared to deal with the current epidemic.

Walker said: “I’ve asked you three times if you would admit whether there’s been a lack of preparedness from the government and I don’t think you answered that on any occasion.”

A beaten Coffey replied: “I think that we have been well prepared and where there have been deficiencies, we’ve sought to address them. We’ve made changes and we’ve recognised there are still some gaps in aspects like our capacity to test 100,000 people which is the target set by te health secretary.”

“But, we’re working with the NHS and also the private sector to make sure we can reach that capacity.”

Coffey later appeared on Good Morning Britain where she said she did not know how many healthworkers were ill or had died from the virus.

To date, 11,329 have died from Covid-19. That figure is expected to rise when the Office for National Statistics publishes the number of deaths in care homes and the greater community later There are predictions Britain is on course to become the worst affected country in Europe.

People have vented their frustrations online with Labour supporter and social commentator Peter Stefanovic labelling the government as being in “complete denial.”

Erdmute Wendlinger D tweeted: “She was word perfect and gave a Tory robotic response without a hint of sorrow that so many people are scared, ill, have lost their family members, No the TORY line must hold regardless.”

@243Andrew pointed out that Sri Lanka, which spends one fifteenth of the UK’s health budget per capita. was fairing better than UK, He said the island nation only had seven deaths, none of which were healtcare workers.

He wrote on Twitter: “Why, they screen, test, contact trace & quarantine, they started in January. As per a WHO best practice & it works. They ordered PPE early. Staff in quarantine areas are safe.”

Jacq Dodman said the government could learn lessons from its French counterparts across the Channel. He wrote: “The Conservative government don’t seem able to take a leaf from Macron’s book and be honest with the people and admit they were at least unprepared.

“The list of misinformation is growing when we need transparency.”

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