There was no shielding plan early in the pandemic and vulnerable groups were “appallingly neglected” as a “fatalistic” approach took hold in Downing Street, Dominic Cummings has claimed.
The former chief aide to Boris Johnson, who described Downing Street as being in “complete chaos”, was asked to what degree decision-makers considered ethnic minority groups, domestic abuse victims and others in the run-up to imposing a national lockdown.
Mr Cummings told the COVID inquiry: “I would say that that entire question was almost entirely appallingly neglected by the entire planning system.”
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He said “one of the most appalling things” was the lack of a shielding plan in March 2020 “and the Cabinet Office was trying to block us creating a shielding plan”.
Mr Cummings, one of the most senior advisers in government during the first wave of the pandemic, also told the inquiry that strict border controls and the rapid expansion of testing could have had a “much better” outcome for saving lives and the economy than lockdowns.
But he said a “fatalistic” approach had gripped the government, which did not envisage attempting to create new systems to control the spread of coronavirus.
“No one thought it was really practical to build our way out of the problem,” he said.
“The fundamental U-turn that we shifted to, was to try and build our way out of it instead of fatalistically accepting it.”
Mr Cummings also described how attitudes around whether to change to a lockdown strategy in March were not suddenly changed.
He said “this was all complete chaos” when asked about when various…
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This notice was published: 2023-10-31 10:05:00
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