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Matt Hancock says he'll throw a 'protective ring' around care homes | The Lockdown Files


It was during a Downing Street press conference on May 15 2020 when Matt Hancock first claimed to have thrown “a protective ring” around care homes.

Although the former health secretary appeared on the Andrew Marr show in June 2021 insisting he had not uttered the phrase until “much later”, he in fact used that form of words on at least three occasions to describe the action taken during the first wave of the pandemic.

On May 15 2020, Mr Hancock said: “Right from the start, it’s been clear that this horrible virus affects older people most. So right from the start, we’ve tried to throw a protective ring around our care homes.”

Then, on May 18 2020, when questioned on this wording, Mr Hancock told the House of Commons: “We absolutely did throw a protective ring around social care, not least with the £3.2 billion worth of funding we put in right at the start, topped up with £600 million worth of funding on Friday.”

He used the phrase again, a day later, telling MPs: “I am glad that we have been able to protect the majority of homes, and we will keep working to strengthen the protective ring that we have cast around all our care homes.”

Yet the WhatsApp messages exchanged between Mr Hancock and his aides in response to the advice of Professor Sir Chris Whitty, England’s Chief Medical Officer, on care home testing in April 2020 appear to tell a rather different story.

On April 14 2020, Sir Chris’s position was clear. He believed there should be “testing of all going into care homes” – and segregation whilst awaiting the result.

Initially, Mr Hancock welcomed this advice as a “good positive step” and recommended it be included in the Government’s eagerly awaited Covid 19: Adult Social Care Plan, to be published the next day.

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#matthancock #covid19 #lockdown

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