UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson faced several criticisms on Wednesday, April 22, 2020, on the ground that his government had poor handling of the coronavirus crisis and failed to explain behind the lack of medical equipment for hospitals, partial death data, and limited testing in the country.
The virus pandemic, which has been considered to be the worst health crisis since the 1918 influenza pandemic, has left governments across the world to face a chaotic economic situation and widespread health crisis.
Johnson’s Poor Coronavirus Policies
Johnson’s government had been attacked since it initially refrained from approving a strict preventive policy to control the spread of the virus while other European leaders had started imposing such preventive measures. He was then started closing down the country when analysts have projected the possibility of widespread death in the UK without the government’s programs.
The opposition leaders started attacking the government since it has given conflicting explanations regarding why it failed to join a European Union (EU) ventilator scheme and admitted there have been problems getting health workers enough protective equipment during the national lockdown.
Ed Davey, acting leader of the opposition Liberal Democrats, said in a statement, “Once we are through this crisis, there will, of course, need to be an independent inquiry to officially review the government’s response to the pandemic.”
The leader added, “The inquiry must have the strongest possible powers given the shocking failures on protective equipment for staff and the slow response of the government – to get to the truth and to give Boris Johnson the opportunity to answer the increasingly serious questions.” The leader of the opposition Labour Party, Keir Starmer has also criticized alleging that the government showed a slow response to the crisis.
Loopholes in the Government’s Data and Promises
According to official data, the figure of Britain’s COVID-19 death toll was reported more than 40% higher than the government’s daily figures indicated as of April 10, which put the country in the worst position of the virus-hit in Europe.
As per the latest data of hospital death, around 17,337 people had died from the pandemic after testing positive across the UK while the Financial Times said that an analysis of the latest data from the statistics office showed the pandemic had taken as many as 41,000 lives in the country. Meantime, Health Secretary Matt Hancock told reporters that the 40% gap between the daily data and the more comprehensive ONS data was “not an accurate representation of those figures”.
The government also made conflicting statements regarding the questions over the supply of ventilators in the country. The top official in Britain’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday, April 21, 2020, that he had made a mistake about the previous claim regarding the participation in a European scheme to buy ventilators to fight the coronavirus.
Hancock faced questions from opposition leaders as he failed to fulfill a pledge to get to 100,000 tests per day done by the end of this month since so far only about 18,200 tests are being conducted per day.
The Daily Mirror said in an editorial, “(Johnson’s) inept government is plunging incompetence to dangerous depths,” adding that those responsible must be held to account if people are dying needlessly.”
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