Prof Chris Whitty in front of the Health Select Committee. He's asked if the Government really did "follow the science" in relation to lockdown in March.

He says yes, broadly. Ministers followed the advice of SAGE "with a delay that was no more than you would reasonably expect"
Hunt asks why SAGE advice didn't follow South Korean example of test and trace?

Whitty says "we had no capacity to do it on scale that would have been needed."

Hunt says but we got capacity in a month in April. If SAGE had advised in Jan, could have had capacity by February.
On COVID transmission in hospitals, Prof Whitty says there is "reasonable evidence" that a lot of transmission was from care staff and health staff to one another. As much as between staff and patients.

So there is "just as much risk to staff in the break room as on wards."
Chris Whitty not in a very good mood today. He keeps repeating that he prepared for a "forward looking" hearing and seems to resent being asked questions about what decisions SAGE took and when.
Whitty asked if he agrees with PM's comments that procedures weren't followed in care homes. Says he doesn't like blame.

But that some "obvious points" were missed: "people working in multiple homes, people not paid sick leave, that these were major risks in care settings"
We may not need to vaccinate everybody against coronavirus.

Prof Van Tam tells the Health Select Committee that if we could vaccinate a relatively small proportion of people, the very highest risk patients, you could deal with a "very large amount" of the death risks.

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More from @mattuthompson

21 Mar
This is insane. They have actually lost their minds.
In November 2020, the EU diplomatic service released the following communiqué. Now look where we are.
Quite apart from anything else, just last week the EU’s own Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said the problem was a failure to actually use the vaccines they had. Direct quote below.

Why ban exports when you’re not even using what you’ve got?
Read 4 tweets
19 Mar
Now correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t recall this leading the @FoxNews home page?

It’s almost as if somebody falling on the stairs isn’t newsworthy... any more than somebody walking down a ramp.
(For those who recall this equally nonsense “story”: old man walks carefully)

Read 4 tweets
14 Mar
“The police will not keep us safe”

The tone here is very much protest now rather than vigil. The crowd growing all the time.

This is no more COVID compliant than yesterday’s vigil, but police are keeping their distance.

Learning perhaps from their actions last night.

Crowd must be several thousand strong. Now marching towards Parliament Square. The name of Sarah Everard on their lips. As well as some more colourful expressions of anger aimed at the police...

Protestors just staged a lie down in Parliament Square, in memory of Sarah Everard “and all victims of state violence”

Read 7 tweets
14 Jan
Baffling. London is 6th out of 7 English regions in terms of the numbers of vaccines given out.

Yet it has the highest infection rates in the country, and is one of the most populous regions.

The Midlands has given out nearly twice as many doses.

Also, the @standardnews has reported on City Hall's concerns that London is getting fewer jabs than it should here:…
Statement from @SadiqKhan on London’s vaccine shortage:
Read 5 tweets
14 Jan
These two things can be true:

1) The DUP might have forseen that Brexit would be challenging in the context of Ireland. Not like they weren't warned.

2) They were still betrayed by Johnson, who literally stood up at DUP conference and said he would never create a sea border.
The DUP's great mistake was arguably not to support Brexit in the first place, as many Remainers are gloating today, but not to support Theresa May's compromise.

That would have left NI in a much better place from a Unionist perspective than Johnson's deal.
Although that of course is only in hindsight, post-betrayal. Harder to see at the time that May's imperfect deal was better.

You could make a kinder argument that the DUP took Johnson at his word, and that was actually the mistake.
Read 5 tweets
13 Jan
Vaccine minister @nadhimzahawi now in front of the Science Committee. I will be watching so you don't have to ;)
Vaccine minister @nadhimzahawi tells the Science Committee that the Govt is not releasing the number of doses it expects every week, because of the way each batch of vaccine has to be checked, so the numbers "move around".
Chair Greg Clark asks if Zahawi is confident the Govt's target of 14m vaccinated by mid-Feb will be met.

Zahawi: "I'm confident we will absolutely meet our target, though there will be daily fluctuations”
Read 16 tweets

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