UK PM 'on top of things' but under fire over early virus response

UK PM ‘on top of things’ but under fire over early virus response


London: A senior government minister said on Sunday that after the fight against the coronavirus, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was in “the most important position” but was criticized for “not taking action” during the initial outbreak .

Conservative leaders were infected with the virus and spent three days under intensive care, but were released from the hospital a week ago.

The official number of British virus deaths is currently 15,464. The country has been in a blockade since March 23, and the government has extended it to at least the end of this month.

“The prime minister is recovering well, he is in cheerful spirits,” senior minister Michael Gove told Sky News.

He said Johnson spoke to his deputy Dominic Raab on Friday, adding that the prime minister “is absolutely on top of things” and issuing instructions.

But Johnson was accused of being “missing in action” by Labour shadow health minister Jonathan Ashworth following a Sunday Times newspaper report into the government’s actions in January and February.

The report said Johnson had missed five of the government’s emergency response meetings in those months.

“None of us expect the impossible, but there are serious questions about why the prime minister skipped Cobra meetings,” Ashworth told Sky News.

“It suggests early on he was missing in action”.

Gove claimed that there was an error in the Sunday Times report, which was mainly based on unnamed civil servants and the government will refute this.

“The idea that the prime minister ‘skipped’ meetings, I think, is grotesque, there are meetings across government, some chaired by the health secretary, some chaired by other ministers,” he said.

“The prime minister took all the major decisions. Nobody can say that the prime minister wasn’t throwing heart and soul into the virus.”

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