'Get a grip' of Covid-19 crisis, Labour leader tells Boris Johnson

Keir Starmer tells Boris Johnson to ‘get a grip’ of Britain’s Covid crisis or risk a second wave and accuses the PM of ‘winging it’ over lockdown easing after official death toll reached 39,369

  • Sir Keir Starmer says there is no strategy for the UK to exit lockdown measures
  • Says decisions have been made to distract from Dominic Cummings scandal 
  • Downing Street says it ‘looks forward to hearing proposals Labour has to offer’
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has launched a scathing attack on Boris Johnson, telling the Prime Minister to ‘get a grip’ of a the Covid-19 crisis.

More than two months after it began on March 23, Mr Starmer says there is still no formal strategy for leaving lockdown.

In an interview with The Guardian, Mr Starmer said: ‘Like many people across the country, there is a growing concern the government is now winging it. At precisely the time when there should have been maximum trust in the government, confidence has collapsed.’  

Sir Keir Starmer has told Boris Johnson to ‘get a grip’ of Britain’s lockdown during the pandemic

Later today Home Secretary Priti Patel is expected to detail plans of 14-day quarantine rules for travellers arriving in the country from next week. The plan has sparked huge backlash from Tory MPs who are concerned it will damage the travel industry by grounding summer holiday plans. 

It comes less than two weeks after the government was rocked by the Dominic Cummings scandal – which saw the Prime Minister’s senior aide come under pressure to resign over his 260-mile trip to Durham and a subsequent drive to Barnard Castle, he claims he took to test his eyesight.

Mr Starmer warned government mismanagement had only made the lockdown situation worse, by losing the confidence of the public.

Boris Johnson is coming under pressure from the Labour leader over his handling of the Covid-19 crisis

He said: ‘If you had said which is the week the government needed maximum trust and confidence, the answer is the week in which you start easing restrictions … that’s where you need maximum trust and confidence. That’s the thing the government has burned in the last few weeks.’ 

Warm weather saw packed beaches in Dorset and Bournemouth at the weekend – with little room or ability for proper social distancing. 

Pictures of people lying next to one another have sparked concern that Britain’s rate of infection could rise above one and cause a second spike.

Mr Starmer said responsibility ultimately lies with the Prime Minister, saying: ‘I am putting the prime minister on notice that he has got to get a grip and restore public confidence in the government’s handling of the epidemic … if we see a sharp rise in the R rate, the infection rate, or a swathe of local lockdowns, responsibility for that falls squarely at the door of No 10.’ 

MPs returned to Parliament yesterday, with new social distancing measures in place – there were queues of half a mile to vote and only 50 politicians could be allowed in the chamber at once. 

Former Defence Secretary Tobias Ellwood has raised concerns about the R rate in seaside towns. 

Speaking on Good Morning Britain yesterday, the Bournemouth East MP said: ‘The bigger point to be made as we ease the lockdown rules, we saw this on the coast in Dorset in Bournemouth and indeed Durdle Door, where people are operating by guidelines at work … as soon as we look at recreations, those rules go out the window.

‘I’m really concerned that Dorset is going to move up the R rating to above 1 and we will be the first place to get that second spike.’

Epidemiologist Professor Neil Ferguson, who stepped down from his post last month after breaking lockdown rules by inviting his lover to his London home, has warned coronavirus cases will likely last until September. 

Yesterday the Department of Health revealed 324 more people had died across all settings. 

The figure, which brings the total closer to 40,000, is 68 per cent lower than the Tuesday a fortnight ago, when 545 deaths were recorded following a lag in reporting over the bank holiday. 

A Downing Street spokesman told the BBC it was focused on ‘helping the country recover safely from coronavirus and restoring the livelihoods of millions of people across the country’.

They added: ‘Now is the time to look to the future and not the past, as we continue to fight this virus while taking cautious steps to ease restrictions. The PM looks forward to hearing any concrete proposals Labour has to offer.’

Professor Carl Heneghan, director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, University of Oxford said he expects deaths to be back to normal by next week. 

Asked during a Science Media Centre briefing whether he expects deaths from Covid-19 to stop or plateau, Professor Heneghan said: ‘If the trends continue, the deaths look like they will be back to where they should be normally by next week.

‘There’s been a continued reduction in hospital deaths, care home outbreaks are coming down so the ‘all deaths’ by (week) 22 I’m expecting will be back to where we should be.’

Professor Heneghan said there may be no Covid-19 deaths by the end of June – which would follow Spain yesterday. Italy is still reporting between 50 and 100 deaths per day, and France around 30.

‘But it also depends on what happens next, within sporadic outbreaks,’ Professor Heneghan said.

 Two new cabinet committees have been established by Mr Johnson to deal with the next phase of responding to Covid-19. 

According to the BBC one of the committees will oversee Britain’s recovery strategy and the other will monitor the delivery of policy.

Source: Read Full Article