Home secretary Priti Patel has tried to shift blame for the UK’s world-leading Covid death rate onto government scientists.
When questioned today about why the UK’s death rate was so high she said “there was no one reason”, before saying “government has listened to a range of advice, and followed advice, from professionals and advisers, medical, scientific, from day one in this pandemic”.
Oxford University research platform Our World in Data said today that the UK currently has the highest seven-day average of Covid deaths at 16.54 per 1,000,000.
It comes as more than 1,600 people died yesterday from Covid in the UK – a new national one-day record.
When questioned about why the UK has the highest current death toll in the world, Patel told the BBC “there is no one reason as to why we have an appalling death toll”, and that the UK’s high level of people with “co-morbidities” contributed to the figures.
She was pushed on the issue, with suggestions that it was in fact failures of government policy – such as locking down too late in March and December, not closing the borders and not getting test and trace working effectively – that caused the high death toll.
Patel said she didn’t “think that is right way to contextualise this at all.”
“Government has listened to a range of advice, and followed advice, from professionals and advisers, medical, scientific, from day one in this pandemic,” she said.
“When it comes to border measures… scientists advised us at the time when coronavirus was incredibly high it would not have made any difference to take border measures… When it came to lockdown, again, we listened to the advice.”
It comes as Guido Fawkes today revealed that Patel told Conservative party members last night that she wanted a complete travel ban last March, but was overruled.