20:24 GMT20 June 2021
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    The claims by a "source" to Robert Peston are a far cry from Dominic Cummings testimony to a parliamentary committee this week, when he claimed Matt Hancock had lied to his face about COVID-19 testing and should have been sacked on at least 15 occasions.

    Former Downing Street SPAD Dominic Cummings has documentary proof the PM "feared" Health Secretary Matt Hancock "misled" him over care home COVID-19 testing, ITV has claimed.

    ITV Political Editor Robert Peston claimed on Friday that Cummings, who was sacked as Prime Minister Boris Johnson's special adviser in November, has documents showing Hancock was called in for an alleged meeting on 4 May 2020.

    "I understand Cummings has documentary evidence that as late as May last year he and the PM feared they had been misled by Hancock about how he would protect the elderly in care homes, and that he was guilty of negligence", Peston wrote.

    Peston quoted a "source" who had claimed there was "a fear in Downing Street that Mr Hancock's 'negligence' had 'killed people in care homes'".

    The Health Department said it "did not recognise" the claim, adding that Hancock "had many meetings with the PM across a range of issues".

    Hancock himself said at a Downing Street press briefing on Thursday evening that it "wasn't possible" to test every patient before capacity had been built up — which proved problematic in the first months of the outbreak.

    "My recollection of events is that I committed to delivering that testing for people going from hospital into care homes when we could do it", Hancock insisted.

    Peston's claims are a far cry from Cummings' comments to the Parliamentary Science and Technology Committee on Wednesday, when he accused Hancock of lying repeatedly and causing unnecessary deaths during the coronavirus outbreak — and claimed there were 15 or 20 occasions when the health secretary should have been sacked. 

    But new data shows transmission from hospitals to care homes was very limited.

    A report by Public Health England on Thursday found that only 97 care-home outbreaks — 1.6 percent of the total — were "seeded" by hospital discharges, resulting in 806 infections and 286 deaths.

    The UK has seen almost 4.5 million confirmed cases of the deadly virus since the first in January 2020, with nearly 128,000 deaths within 28 days of a positive test.

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    Tags:
    Downing Street, Boris Johnson, ITV, Dominic Cummings, Matt Hancock, coronavirus, COVID-19
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