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UK's Johnson Voices Confidence in Health Minister After Purportedly Calling Him 'Hopeless'

© AP Photo / Christopher FurlongSecretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock, right, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson have tea with members of staff as they visit Bassetlaw District General Hospital, during their General Election campaign in Worksop, England, Friday, Nov. 22, 2019.
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock, right, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson have tea with members of staff as they visit Bassetlaw District General Hospital, during their General Election campaign in Worksop, England, Friday, Nov. 22, 2019.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 18.06.2021
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LONDON (Sputnik) – UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday said he has “complete confidence” in health minister Matt Hancock, after purportedly calling him "hopeless" in a private WhatsApp message published by Johnson’s former chief aide Dominic Cummings.

Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, walks through the rain to the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, England, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 16.06.2021
Cummings Unveils Messages in Which UK PM Appears to Call Hancock's Performance 'F***ing Hopeless'
“I have complete confidence in Matt,” Johnson told broadcasters during a visit to the English county of West Yorkshire.

After stepping down from his job in December, Cummings has targeted much of his criticism against the government’s handling of the pandemic at the prime minister and the health secretary.

Last week, the former top aide published a screenshot of an alleged text message exchange between himself and Johnson in which he noted that the US is ramping up its testing capacity, and slammed Hancock for saying he was “sceptical” about the UK meeting the previously announced target of 10,000 virus tests per week.

The prime minister purportedly responded: “Totally f****** hopeless,” apparently referring to Hancock.

According to Cummings, the WhatsApp exchange took place at 11.39 pm on 26 March last year “minutes before” Johnson tested positive for COVID-19.

Upon voicing his confidence in his health minister on Friday, the prime minister argued that under Hancock’s leadership and the National Health Service, 80 percent of the UK adult population have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccines.

“We´re making huge, huge progress and that´s thanks to the work of the NHS and with Matt on the top of it,” Johnson stressed.

On his decision to delay the easing of the COVID-19 lockdown restriction due to the prevalence in the UK of the Delta coronavirus variant first identified in India, he said that he is confident that July 19 will be the “terminus” date.

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