Coronavirus UK news – Dominic Cummings exposes Government 'who DON'T we save' lockdown plan as he's grilled on pandemic

DOMINIC Cummings has shared a photo of a "2020 lockdown plan" that says "who do we not save?" ahead of a grilling over the pandemic response.

The picture, which appears to be taken in Boris Johnson's study, is from March 13 last year, Mr Cummings has claimed.

He wrote: "Plan A 'our plan' breaks NHS,>4k p/day dead min.Plan B: lockdown, suppress, crash programs (tests/treatments/vaccines etc), escape 1st AND 2nd wave (squiggly line instead of 1 or 2 peaks)… details later."

Meanwhile the Government has u-turned over travel advice for areas worst hit by the Indian Covid variant after a change in guidance led to confusion.

Yesterday, ministers warned people not to enter or leave areas where the Covid strain is spreading fastest "unless it is essential".

But advice updated this morning now asks people to "minimise" travel into and out of Bolton, Blackburn, Kirklees, Bedford, Burnley, Leicester, Hounslow and North Tyneside.

Read our coronavirus live blog below for the latest news and updates…

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    "LIONS LED BY DONKEYS"

    Dominic Cummings said there is something wrong with the UK political system that the choice at the last election was between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn.

    He said the Government's Covid response was "lions led by donkeys" as there were brilliant people on the ground but top leadership let them down.

    Cummings said there is something wrong with the system that some like him – who is "not smart" and "has not contributed anything" – should be in such a powerful position in the Government.

    He also said the problem with the civil service is that there are so many great people working there but they "tend to get weeded out from top positions".

    He said: "What is it about Whitehall that promotes so many people who are out of their depth."

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    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH A 'SMOKING RUIN'

    Dominic Cummings has described the Department of Health as a "smoking ruin" at the start of the pandemic.

    He said the entire shielding plan was put together by a few civil servants in several all-nighters despite previously being told they could not do it because they did not the resources.

    He accused Health Secretary Matt Hancock of lying about people getting the treatment they needed at the early stages of the pandemic.

    Cummings said offers of ventilators were rejected early on in the pandemic because the price had been inflated.

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    "THERE WAS NO PLAN"

    Dominic Cummings said Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Treasury did a great job creating the furlough scheme but it was cobbled together in a matter of days.

    Speaking to the Science and Health select committees, the former No 10 adviser said there had been no plan for furlough for people who could not work and no plans to offer financial incentives for people who cannot afford to self-isolate.

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    CUMMINGS SAYS CABINET SECRETARY COMPARED COVID-19 TO CHICKEN POX

    Dominic Cummings said former Cabinet Secretary Lord Sedwill suggested Boris Johnson go on television to explain Covid-19 herd immunity was similar to chicken pox parties.

    The former adviser claimed he told Sedwill to stop comparing to the typically non-fatal illness as Covid was spreading exponentially and killing thousands of people.

    He said it was only then that the people in room really seemed to realise how serious the epidemic was.

    Chicken pox parties are when parents encourage small children to play with a child who has contracted chicken pox as the illness can only be contracted once and is much safer to have in childhood than adulthood.

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    CUMMINGS ADMITS MASS EVENTS ADVICE WAS "BIZARRE IN RETROSPECT"

    Dominic Cummings said advice surrounding mass events early last year was "bizarre in retrospect".

    The former chief aide to the Prime Minister told the Commons committee: "I was really torn about the whole thing because in the first 10 days of March. I was increasingly being told by people I think this is going wrong but I was also really, really worried about kind of like smashing my hand down on a massive button marked 'ditch the official plan, stop listening to the official plan, I think there's something going wrong'.

    "I did do that as we'll come on to but on the fifth I was reluctant to do that."

    He said that he did not advise that the mass events of the Cheltenham festival and the Champions League match in Liverpool should not go ahead.

    He said official advice at the time was that those measures would not greatly affect transmission, "which obviously seems bizarre in retrospect", and that they could make matters worse by pushing people into pubs.

    "No one in the official system, in the Department of Health, drew the obvious logical conclusion, which was 'shouldn't we be shutting all the pubs as well?"' Cummings added.

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    CUMMINGS DESCRIBES CHAOS AT No10 AS IT WAS DECIDING ON LOCKDOWN

    Dominic Cummings said the Government realised it needed a "Plan B" on 12th March when they saw data about the spread of the virus.

    He said they realised they had to abandon their plan for herd immunity and move towards household quarantine.

    The former adviser said he was texted by a senior government official that "There is no plan, we're in huge trouble. I think we are absolutely f*****. I think this country was heading for a disaster, I think we're going to kill thousands of people."

     

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    DOWNING STREET IN DISARRAY IN RUN UP TO LOCKDOWN

    Dominic Cummings said No 10’s attention was divided while it was deciding whether to impose a lockdown.

    He said the Government was dealing with the fallout of the U.S.'s bombing campaign in southern Iraq and a story about the No 10 dog which Carrie Symonds was “going crackers about” and wanted the press office to deal as well as Covid.

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    PM "WANTED TO BE INJECTED WITH COVID" LIVE ON TV

    Dominic Cummings said Boris Johnson dismissed the severity of Covid-19 and suggested England's Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty inject him with Covid-19 live on TV to prove it is not dangerous.

    The former No 10 adviser told MPs "The view of various officials inside Number 10 was, if we have Prime Minister chairing COBR meetings and he just tells everyone this is swine flu, don't worry about it and I'm going to get Chris Whitty to inject me live on TV with coronavirus … that would not help,"

    After contracting Covid-19 in March, Johnson was rushed to intensive care after becoming critically ill and spent weeks recuperating as Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab stood in for him.

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    WHITEHALL THOUGHT HIGH DEATH TOLL WAS 'INEVITABLE'

    Dominic Cummings explained the logic of the Government's initially herd immunity plan.

    He said it was regarded as "an unavoidable fact" that we would get to herd immunity but it was "simply a question of when".

    The former No 10 adviser said the assumption in Whitehall was that the lockdown that had been imposed in Wuhan would not work and they would get a second peak later on.

    They also believed people in the UK would not accept a strict Wuhan-style lockdown.

    Cummings said the Government felt it was a choice between one peak in the summer and herd immunity by September and trying to flatten in the summer and facinga second, larger peak in the winter time which would be worse.

    He added: "the point is no one wanted to this to happen it is just that people saw it as inevitable".

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    'LOTS OF PEOPLE WERE LITERALLY SKIING IN FEBRUARY'

    Dominic Cummings said there was no sense of urgency in Downing Street until Boris Johnson returned from holiday in late February.

    Giving evidence to Science and Health select committees, the former No 10 adviser said"in no way shape or form did the Government act like it was the most important thing in January.

    "Number 10 was not operating on a war footing in February on it in any way shape or form. Lots of key people were literally skiing in the middle of February.

    "It wasn't until the last week of February that there was really any sort of sense of urgency I would say … in terms of Number 10 and cabinet."

    He said the focus initially was on HS2, then on a Cabinet reshuffle and the Government only began to plan for the pandemic in the last week of the month.

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    DOMSDAY

    Dominic Cummings has shared a photo of a "2020 lockdown plan" that says "who do we not save?".

    It comes hours before the former Prime Minister's adviser is due to face an explosive grilling.

    The picture, which appears to be taken in Boris Johnson's study, is from March 13 last year, Mr Cummings has claimed.

    He wrote: "Plan A 'our plan' breaks NHS,>4k p/day dead min.Plan B: lockdown, suppress, crash programs (tests/treatments/vaccines etc), escape 1st AND 2nd wave (squiggly line instead of 1 or 2 peaks)… details later."

    Cummings said the Government's original plan was for limited intervention, with the hope of achieving herd immunity.

    But that was abandoned when it became clear the scale of the death toll that would result.

    Dominic Cummings has shared this image of a whiteboard plan he claims is from last March including point no 6, bottom centre, reading 'who do we save?'
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    PANDEMIC 'NOT A PRIORITY'

    Dominic Cummings said the rising number of Covid cases was not a priority in Downing Street until the end of February.

    Speaking to the Science and Health select committees, he said the Government "was not operating on a war footing in any way shape or form".

    He added that it "wasn't until the last week of February that there was any sense of urgency" to deal with the pandemic.

     

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    'WESTERN WORLD COMPLETELY FAILED TO SEE THE ALARM BELLS'

    Former No 10 adviser Dominic Cummings said western countries such as the UK "completely failed to see the alarm bells" in the early stages of the pandemic.

    He said the Chinese sprang into action to slow the spread of the virus because of its experience with the Sars virus 15 years ago.

    But in contrast UK ministers and civil servants “fell disastrously short of the standards the public has a right to expect of its government in a crisis”.

    Cummings said he had wanted to step up the Government's pandemic preparedness in January 2020.

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    PEOPLE AGED 30 AND 31 CAN NOW BOOK THEIR VACCINES

    One million more Brits can book their Covid jab from TODAY as people in their early thirties get the go-ahead to have the vaccine.

    Those aged 30 and 31 will be invited for their jab by text in the coming days – making those aged 18 to 29 the only adults left to get the nod.

    They will receive the message from "NHSvaccine" after people aged 32 and above started getting the text earlier this month.

    It means one million more people will be able to book their jab online or by phoning 119 in the next few days.

    Nearly four million vaccine appointments have already been booked since the over thirties got the green light, with deaths dramatically dropping as a result of the vaccine rollout.

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    There are "very few if any" care home residents being admitted to hospital with Covid-19, the chief executive of NHS Providers has said.

    Chris Hopson told Times Radio: "The vast majority of people who are in hospital are people who have not been vaccinated, either because they were eligible and they haven't come forward but also there are younger people who haven't been vaccinated – that's why you're getting 70% of people who are hospitalised under 45.

    He said the data showed that getting people their second jabs was a priority as there was "definitely a difference" in hospital admissions between people with one jab and two.

    "So what those chief executives are saying to us is that they think that the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has made the right decision by effectively saying 'let's try and get those second jabs done as quickly as possible' because that definitely does give a kind of higher level of protection", he added.

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    DOCTORS URGED TO WATCH OUT FOR SIGNS OF STROKE FOLLOWING COVID VACCINATION

    Doctors are being urged to watch out for signs of stroke in people receiving the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine after three young patients were admitted to hospital and one died.

    Experts, including from the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery at University College London (UCL) Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, told how two women in their 30s and a man in his 40s suffered clots in their large arteries, leading to ischaemic stroke, though they stressed the chances were small.

    The team said the NHS must look out for patients with ischaemic stroke (where blood clots block arteries) within about one month of vaccination, saying they should be “urgently evaluated” for a very rare syndrome called vaccine-induced thrombosis and thrombocytopenia (VITT).

    This condition needs to be rapidly diagnosed and managed by a team with a range of expertise, who have quick access to a range of drugs, they said. The experts stressed that the cases of stroke are very rare and that stroke is more common in people who catch Covid-19.

    There have been 309 cases of major thrombosis with low platelet count suggesting VITT from more than 30 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine administered, they said.

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    WATCH: GRANT SHAPPS ON DOMINIC CUMMINGS

    Grant Shapps thinks Dominic Cummings has ‘probably tweeted most of what he’s going to say already’

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    NEW DOMINIC CUMMINGS ALLEGATIONS AGAINST BORIS JOHNSON (CONTINUED…)

    Mr Cummings will make spurious allegations the PM wanted to be injected with Covid to show it wasn’t a serious risk to the public.

    He will even claim that he wanted chief medical officer Chris Whitty to jab him with the bug “so everyone can see it’s nothing to be scared of”.

    The PM caught Covid in April last year and spent a week in hospital with the virus – including several days in intensive care – and nearly died.

    Dominic Raab even had to step in as acting PM while he was in his darkest days.

    The scorned ex-adviser will point the finger directly at his former boss and said on Twitter ahead of the showdown that thousands of lives were needlessly lost by his “awful” leadership.

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    DOMINIC CUMMINGS ‘SET TO ALLEGE BORIS JOHNSON SAID “COVID WAS ONLY KILLING 80-YEAR-OLDS” IN A BID TO AVOID LOCKDOWN’

    Boris Johnson wanted to be injected with Covid live on telly to show it wasn’t a big risk, Dominic Cummings is set to sensationally claim.

    Downing Street is braced for “Domageddon” as the rogue aide spills lockdown secrets to MPs.

    ummoned to a bombshell Commons evidence session that could run for six hours, the former No10 adviser has vowed to lift the lid on how the PM was too slow to lockdown last March and the Health Sec’s “disastrous” pandemic planning.

    It was claimed Mr Cummings would make incendiary claims that Mr Johnson refused to order a second lockdown in September last year because “only 80-year-olds were dying” from the bug.

    The PM is also said to have called Covid ‘Kung Flu’ in a reference to the virus originating from China.

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    MINISTER SAYS DEFENCE OF No10 ADVISER 'UNDERMINED PUBLIC HEALTH MESSAGE'

     Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, who defended Dominic Cummings after his trip to Country Durham during lockdown last year, admitted the former aide had undermined the Government's public health message.

    "I thought he was right at the time to stand by his family, to go into effective quarantine, and that's what he did," Mr Shapps told the BBC.

    "I accept it was a moment which actually in the public's mind undermined the wider messages and I accept that.

    "I thought he was doing what he thought was right by his family at the time."

    He dismissed the focus on Cummings as "Westminster bubble stuff" and "I do find this obsession about one single adviser a bit odd".

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    DOMINIC CUMMINGS TO GIVE EVIDENCE ON COVID RESPONSE

    Former Downing Street adviser Dominic Cummings will give evidence on the early days of the Government's Covid-19 response.

    He is due to give evidence to the House of Commons' Health and Science select committee from 9.30am this morning.

    The adviser, who acrimoniously left No 10 last year, is expected to say the Government initially decided to pursue a policy of "herd immunity" rather than attempt to stop the virus spreading through the population.

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    MANCHESTER MAYOR ANDY BURNHAM HITS OUT AT ‘MASSIVE COMMUNICATION ERROR’ FROM GOVERNMENT

    Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham told people to exercise their own judgement and hit out at a massive “communications error”.

    He fumed: “Schools are confused about whether trips can happen, amateur sport has been thrown into chaos, people also have plans for the bank holiday.”

    The Labour big beast demanded a minister issue an urgent statement today clarifying the situation. He also vowed to fight any future local lockdowns, with Mr Greenhalgh warning of public unrest if they were ever revived in the future.

    Answering a question from The Sun, he said: “There’s an underlying resentment that could lead to anger.

    “I don’t think I’m over-exaggerating, you only have to look at social media to see tensions that are rising.”

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    CANARY, BALEARIC AND GREEK ISLANDS ‘COULD BE ON GREEN LIST EVEN IF REST OF THE COUNTRY IS RATED AMBER’

    THE Canary, Balearic and Greek islands could be on quarantine-free green list for summer holidays, even if the rest of the country is rated amber. 

    Ministers have pledged to open up island destinations for UK tourists “where possible”, even if infection rates prevented an entire country from joining the green list.

    According to reports from the Telegraph, Robert Courts, the aviation minister, told MPs the Government would take this “where possible” as it prepares to reveal the next lot of destinations that could be added to the quarantine-free list.

    The second installment of countries to be added to the list was expected to be announced at the start of next month.

    This process would mean the Canary, Balearic and Greek islands could be rated green, separate from Spain and Greece. This could also pave the way for other tourists in the Carribean and Mediterranean to be declared open for UK tourists. 

    Read more here.

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    OPPOSITION MPs CRITICISE GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCEMENT OF LOCAL LOCKDOWNS

    Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth and the SNP’s Health spokeswoman Phillipa Whitford have challenged the government over its decision to “sneak out” local lockdowns in areas heavily affected by the Indian variant.

    Ashworth challenged Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zawahi in the House of Commons, saying the government has let down people who had been planning for reopening. He asked why the Government did not do more to tell people about when the lockdown was imposed.

    Whitford accused the Government of updating the website during Eurovision on Saturday night to avoid heavy scruntiny and criticism.

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