Dominic Cummings, former Special Advisor to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, arrives at the Covid Inquiry to give evidence in London, Britain, 31 October 2023. EFE/EPA/NEIL HALL

UK had ‘no shielding plan’ to protect vulnerable in pandemic, says Cummings

London, Oct 31 (EFE). – The British government had “essentially no shielding plan at all” to protect vulnerable people when the pandemic was declared in early 2020, said on Tuesday Dominic Cummings, former super adviser to former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, during the UK Covid-19 Inquiry.

Cummings said there was no strategy to protect those most at risk of severe illness, nor victims of domestic abuse, when the March 2020 lockdown started.

Cummings, who appeared before the official inquiry into the health crisis, strongly criticized Johnson’s decision-making during the inquiry.

The two have been at odds since Cummings’ firing in November 2020.

The former adviser also said that the former prime minister was known among his aides as a “shopping trolley” that was broken and would go in all directions, especially when it came to Covid.

Cummings also declared that when the government released a coronavirus action plan on March 2 – with the strategy of “contain, delay, mitigate” – it was pretty much a “joke.”

He also said the protection of people with health problems, the disabled or victims of sexist violence was an issue “appallingly neglected by the entire planning system” of the former Conservative leader’s government.

Cummings, who is known for not sparing curses and insults when expressing himself, said that the heart of the government was “a dumpster on fire” when he arrived at Downing Street in July 2019.

The “dysfunction” within the so-called Cabinet Office, which links the executive with the ministries, became even more evident during the pandemic, said the adviser, who described it as a “bomb site.”

Asked by lawyer Hugo Keith about his insulting descriptions of ministers contained in WhatsApp messages to Johnson or other colleagues, Cummings replied that while the bad language was his, the opinion about those politicians was “widespread.”

He added that, given the “caliber” of cabinet ministers and the poor decisions they made, his language, if anything, “understated the position as events in 2020 showed.”

Johnson’s former ally explained that around March 9, 2020 – before the first lockdown on the 23rd – the Department of Health, the Cabinet Office and the scientific advisory group Sage believed that the way to deal with the pandemic in the UK was through “herd immunity,” allowing the virus to progress until a good part of society was immunized.

Later, when the impact on hospitals was seen, the consensus was to try to contain the virus with practical measures such as quarantines.

“The fundamental U-turn that we shifted to, was to try and build our way out of it instead of fatalistically accepting it,” Cummings said.

Before him, Johnson’s former press chief Lee Cain declared that the former “Tory” leader, who was forced to resign in September 2022 due to internal scandals, was not qualified to deal with the pandemic. EFE