Piers Morgan accused the Government of negligence in a furious rant over its failure to provide figures for the number of people who have been tested for coronavirus.
Raging against Office for National Statistics data which yesterday showed the UK now has the worse death rate in the world, the Good Morning Britain host targeted Health Secretary Matt Hancock, telling him to ‘stop scamming us’.
For more than 10 days the public has not been given a figure for the number of people who have been tested for Covid-19, the space on the Government’s daily death announcements table simply reading ‘unavailable’.
According to the Department of Health and Social Care, reporting of the number of people who have received a test has been ‘temporarily paused’ to ‘ensure consistent reporting across all pillars’.
Today, heath minister Edward Argar said he did not have statistics for the number of people who have been tested, nor did he know how many people are isolating as part of the Government’s tracing app trial on the Isle of Wight.
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Ministers have repeatedly pointed to testing capacity numbers to claim 200,000 tests a day could be carried out, with yesterday’s data showing 135,643 tests were taken – but no figure for how many people were tested. Officials have admitted that sometimes two tests are taken from one person.
In an impassioned rant this morning, Piers – quoting ONS data – said: ‘People say to me, why don’t you get behind the Government? Why don’t you support them?
‘Maybe it’s because we’ve got the worst death rate in the world. Over 65,000 excess deaths have been recorded.’
Susanna Reid then explained why it is important the Government publishes the number of people being tested, saying: ‘The head of the UK statistics authority says the reason why it’s important, that we know this clearly, is because of two purposes.
‘First, it helps us understand the epidemic, showing us how many people are infected and their relevant characteristics.
‘And the second purpose is to help manage the test programme, to ensure there are enough tests, that they are carried out and that they’re sent where they’re needed and they’re being used as effectively as possible.’
Piers added: ‘Stop scamming us health secretary, we’re not stupid, tell us how many people you are testing, just be honest.
‘At the daily breifing today somebody look them in the eye and say why do we have the worst death rate in the world?
‘Why have tens of thousands of people died unnessarily due to what I believe is Government incompetence and negligence and it might turn out to be criminal negligence.’
Mr Argar this morning said figures on the number of people traced through the track and trace system would be published soon.
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