Boris Johnson is reported to have aimed an expletive-laden tirade at UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock over COVID-19 testing failures in care homes after recovering from contracting the virus himself in March last year, according to The Sun.
A lack of COVID screening for people being discharged from hospitals into care homes reportedly prompted the PM to shout “What a f****** mess!” at Hancock.
Nevertheless, Johnson resisted demands from other ministers to sack the health secretary, who argued it would be “intolerable” in the midst of a pandemic.
Earlier, reports claim that BoJo deliberately cut Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock from Downing Street meetings in 2020 over the situation with the country's care homes.
According to the Daily Mail, citing an unnamed source, Johnson was concerned to discover that hospital patients had been sent to care homes without first being tested for COVID-19 in the early weeks of the pandemic.
Insiders were cited as describing the relationship between Johnson and Hancock as "really bad" as the COVID death toll soared, with Hancock excluded from some meetings with government advisers, including National Health Service (NHS) Chief Sir Simon Stevens and Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty.
The latest report feeds a string of accusations by ex-adviser Dominic Cummings claiming government was gripped by chaos during the early stages of the health crisis.
On Wednesday, Cummings accused Hancock of lying "on multiple occasions" during the pandemic, including about whether people would be tested before returning from hospitals to care homes.
Cummings was testifying before MPs on 26 May as part of a probe by parliamentary committees into the UK government's handling of the pandemic.
Hancock rejected the allegations as "unsubstantiated," insisting that he was committed to improving capacity for testing.
Amid the barrage of accusations levelled at the government, which is considering whether to further ease restrictions on 21 June, Labour party leader Keir Starmer has written in the Observer denouncing Johnson and his ministers of “covering their own backs” to combat the Indian coronavirus variant.
Starmer claims “mistakes are being repeated” as he made reference to the PM’s reluctance to impose a second lockdown in autumn last year.
“Weak, slow decisions on border policy let the Indian variant take hold… Lack of self-isolation support and confused local guidance failed to contain it. We all want to unlock on June 21 but the single biggest threat to that is the Government's incompetence,” said the opposition leader, adding:
“The Prime Minister was warned to prepare for a second wave. He did not do so. And over twice as many people died in the second wave than in the first.”