Hancock Claims He Was Given “The Best Advice” Despite Now Going Back on SAGE Calls to End Community Testing

MPs were treated to a testy exchange between Health Committee Chairman Jeremy Hunt and Health Secretary Matt Hancock at the committee this morning, as Hancock maintains he received the best available advice – despite East Asian countries following different advice and seeing far lower death tolls. While countries like South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore ramped up community test and trace at the start of the pandemic, the UK did not do so until the end of April…

Readers may remember Hunt deploying a similar line of questioning to Chris Whitty in July, who stood by the now widely considered to be questionable SAGE advice on 18th February, which told ministers “when there is sustained transmission in the UK, contact tracing will no longer be useful.”

Hancock today admitted that “it wasn’t just NPIs” (non-pharmaceutical interventions like lockdowns) that East Asian countries deployed earlier than the UK, but crucially community testing too. Hancock told Hunt that “I was told to stop community testing and that we should also stop contact tracing.” Against the advice of the WHO and the example of East Asia.

Bizarrely, in parallel, the Health Secretary claimed that “I got the best advice my scientific advisers could give me.” A curious claim given Hancock now appears to admit it was worse than the advice other countries had, which he promises to “learn from”…

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