Dominic Cummings has blasted the Government’s response to the coronavirus crisis, branding its plan ‘part disaster, part non-existent’.
Boris Johnson’s former key aide also labelled the UK border policy a ‘joke’ as he pleaded for more scrutiny of how the country is planning to deal with Covid.
He wrote a 26-tweet thread blaming Government secrecy for the ‘catastrophe’ of spring 2020 when Mr Cummings was in Downing Street while the UK was battered by the pandemic.
His intervention comes ahead of him giving evidence to MPs at a hearing on the Covid-19 response, on Thursday, May 26. He is widely expected to publicly blast his former boss’ approach.
Mr Cummings, who left Downing Street in November after a behind-the-scenes power struggle, shot to prominence last summer after a trip to Barnard Castle during lockdown.
The PM’s former aide said the Covid plan was supposed to be ‘world class’ but turned out to be ‘part disaster, part non-existent’.
He said public scrutiny was now essential to examine how the Government will respond to a variant of the virus which can escape vaccines.
Ahead of his appearance, Mr Cummings highlighted his concerns with the approach adopted in the early stages of the pandemic last year.
He wrote on Twitter: #One of the most fundamental & unarguable lessons of Feb-March is that secrecy contributed greatly to the catastrophe.
‘Openness to scrutiny wd have exposed Gvt errors weeks earlier than happened.’
He also highlighted the example of Taiwan as how the UK could have dealt better with the outbreak, saying the country showed ‘that if you REALLY get your act together not only is econ largely unscathed but life is ~ normal.’
But Mr Cummings accused establishment figures of being ‘totally hostile to learning from East Asia.’
He questioned why MPs were accepting the ‘lack of a public plan now’ for the vaccines taskforce to respond to new variants.
‘The best hedge re a variant escaping current vaccines is public scrutiny of Gvt plans,’ he wrote.
‘This will hopefully show it’s been taken seriously.
‘If not, better learn now that the Gvt has screwed up again than when “variant escapes” news breaks.’
Mr Cummings, who has seen the classified elements of the Covid-19 response, suggested the Government could make 99% of vaccine plans public without risk as national security concerns are ‘almost totally irrelevant to the critical parts of the problem’.
He also suggested that vaccines could have been developed faster if ‘human challenge’ trials, where volunteers are deliberately infected with the virus, had begun immediately.
That could have meant ‘jabs in arms (in the) summer’, he said, but the vaccine taskforce (VTF) was ‘constrained’ in ways they should not be.
Human challenge trials only took place this year, but the development of vaccines was rapid in comparison with work on jabs for other diseases.
Metro.co.uk has contacted Downing Street for comment.
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