British Prime Minister Boris Johnson wanted to get injected with COVID-19 on live television to prove that there was "nothing to be frightened of" mere weeks before it nearly killed him, according to his controversial former chief adviser's testimony on Wednesday. Dominic Cummings stated that in February 2020, the Prime Minister regarded this as just a scare story.
Cummings was a key force behind Brexit and Johnson's 2019 election victory. He conceded the government's decision to postpone lockdown at the beginning of the pandemic had resulted in "carnage." He appeared before a parliamentary inquiry into UK's response to the crisis and remarked that senior ministers and staff had fallen remarkably short.
Cummings Files Charges Against Johnson, Other Officials
The former aide has leveled charges of chaos, confusion, delay, and deceit against officials, ministers, and his former boss over their overseeing of the novel coronavirus pandemic in 2020. In a fierce attack amid a seven-hour parliamentary committee appearance on Wednesday, he questioned Johnson's capabilities as a leader and branded him "unfit for the job," media-obsessed, and hinders "serious planning," reported Financial Review.
The PM became infected with COVID-19 relatively early in the pandemic. He tested positive in late March last year and was admitted to intensive care, reported Insider.
Curmmings remarked the PM thought the infection was like "swine flu." He suggested that Johnson had considered being injected with COVID-19 by chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty. He said, "The view of various officials inside No 10 was - if we have the Prime Minister chairing Cobra meetings and he just tells everyone 'it's swine flu, don't worry about it, I'm going to get Chris Whitty to inject me live on TV with coronavirus so everyone realises it's nothing to be frightened of' - that would not help actually serious planning," reported The National.
The former No 10 aide is expected to focus his attention on the reason behind the prime minister dragging his feet on a second lockdown which could have saved numerous lives. Cummings will reportedly claim Johnson insisted he would not repeat what he saw as his mistake amid the initial lockdown when he was pressured over the probable collapse of the National Health Service.
Cummings also claimed that Johnson referred to COVID-19 as "Kung-Flu." He also accused the PM of postponing a second lockdown when the second wave of COVID-19 hit Britain in the winter.
He referred to Cabinet Office Briefing Room meetings wherein he claimed Johnson downplayed COVID-19. The meetings are convened to tackle national emergency matters.
Cummings also caught the virus early in the pandemic. It ignited calls for his resignation following his getting caught driving 250 miles across the UK while infected, despite a nationwide quarantine order.
By May 25, 127,739 people in Britain had died. These were within 28 days of testing positive for COVID-19.