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BORIS JOHNSON denied that Covid-19 would overwhelm the NHS and resisted a lockdown last autumn because those dying were “essentially all over 80,” Dominic Cummings has claimed.
The Prime Minister’s former chief adviser said that the PM wanted to let the virus “wash through the country” rather than destroy the economy.
The former Vote Leave director, who left Downing Street in December after a row with Mr Johnson, told the BBC that the government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance and chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty had joined him in pushing for tougher restrictions from mid-September as infections increased.
Mr Johnson allegedly said: “No, no no, no, no, I'm not doing it,” adding that sections of the Tory Party and the Daily Telegraph newspaper — his “real boss” — were resisting a repeat of the spring 2020 lockdown.
After rejecting calls from Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer for a brief “circuit-breaker” lockdown the following month, the PM reportedly said that the average age of those dying was 81 to 82 for men and 85 for women.
“That is above life expectancy. So get Covid and live longer,” he allegedly wrote in a WhatsApp message seen by the BBC on October 15.
Mr Johnson reportedly added: “Hardly anyone under 60 goes into hospital and of those virtually all survive. And I no longer buy all this NHS overwhelmed stuff.
“Folks, I think we may need to recalibrate. There are max 3 [million] in this country aged over 80."
Eventually Mr Johnson announced a four-week lockdown for England on October 31, saying that his priority was to protect the NHS.
Labour’s shadow health minister Justin Madders said that the “shocking” remarks proved that the PM had repeatedly failed to protect public health.
“The chaos, delay and incompetence at the heart of government is costing lives and harming the economy,” Mr Madders said. “Boris Johnson is reckless, unfit to govern, and a public inquiry cannot be delayed.”
A government spokesperson claimed that the PM had taken the “necessary action” to protect life.
The revelations coincided with Downing Street insisting that self-isolation is “crucial” for people sent an alert by the Covid-19 app, contradicting Business Minister Paul Scully, who had suggested that it was “up to individuals” to choose whether to follow the advice.
Mr Madders accused the government of "making it up as they go along,” adding: “They need to get a grip.”
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