Hapless health minister’s vacuity and lack of self-examination exemplifies Tories’ shamelessly hopeless handling of coronavirus crisis
Health minister Helen Whately suffered yet another car crash interview on multiple channels today as she tried to explain why the Tories gave four hours notice to UK holidaymakers in Spain that they will have to self-quarantine for two weeks when they return to this country.
Whately and her party act as if it’s new news that there is a global pandemic and are asking UK people and businesses to swallow the cost of yet more Tory failure to prepare or think ahead.
It’s far from Whately’s first such disaster. She laughed at mention of COVID-19 deaths during an ITV interview and visibly squirmed when challenged about voting against a pay rise for nurses, but her woes are just a pale reflection of the appalling and often intentional failures of her government.
The Tories have put thousands of British citizens into a dire bind, who travelled in the government’s so-called ‘corridor’ only to find their return will lead them into quarantine – with those arriving a minute before midnight last night free to travel but those a minute after facing two weeks at home, with no entitlement to statutory sick pay or unemployment benefits and a government simply ‘asking’ employers to be helpful.
And all this comes after the Tories spent months telling the country that quarantining international travellers wasn’t necessary – while allowing passengers from global hotspots at that time far worse than the UK unrestricted entry and onward travel in spite of constant calls for temperature checks and quarantine. Now, with the UK’s COVID-19 death rate 32 times higher than Spain’s, the government has decided to impose a snap quarantine on those already abroad.
Nor is travel the only area in which the Tories have delayed inexcusably. Boris Johnson’s slowness to impose lockdown – since lied about by Matt Hancock – has cost this country at least 25,000 needless deaths, for which Johnson refused even to express regret.
Likewise, Johnson and Hancock’s delays in obtaining PPE have contributed to the deaths of approaching 600 NHS and care staff and unknown numbers of patients, while their slowness to react to the catastrophe they were creating in care homes has cost many thousands of residents their lives.
Helen Whately’s incompetence in interviews is a mere hint of the Tories’ disastrous and arrogant mishandling of the crisis.
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