MATT HANCOCK led a coronavirus press conference from Downing Street at 5pm today.
The Health Secretary addressed the nation after Dominic Cummings launched a blistering attack at him on Wednesday.
Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest updatesHealth Secretary Matt Hancock has been slated by Dominic Cummings[/caption]
What did Matt Hancock say?
Hancock was joined by Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency.
Speaking about the spread of the Indian variant, Hancock said: “As we set out our roadmap, we always expected cases to rise. We must remain vigilant.
“The aim, of course, is to break the link to hospitalisations and deaths.”
He continued: “The increase in cases remains focused in hotspots and we are doing all we can to tackle this variant wherever it flares up.”
The Health Secretary revealed the strain is responsible for three quarters of all new Covid cases in the UK.
He claimed the Indian variant is still spreading rapidly as a further 3,542 new infections were recorded in the latest 24-hour period.
Hancock said: “The variant first identified in India, so called B1617.2 is still spreading.
“The latest estimates are that more than half, and potentially as many as three quarters of all new cases are now of this variant.”
Cummings accused him of lying and causing “tens of thousands” of deaths”.
On May 26, Cummings blamed Hancock for the care homes controversy and said he should have been fired at least 15 times.
During today’s press conference, Hancock was asked whether he protected care homes from the start of the pandemic.
He said: “We worked as hard as we could to protect people who live in care homes.
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“Of course, those who live in care homes are the most vulnerable to the disease.”
When asked about sending residents back to care homes without being tested, he said: “I’ve answered this question many times, as we didn’t have the testing capacity at the start of the pandemic, it wasn’t possible.
“What I’m proud of is that we built that testing capacity, but it took time.”