Tory minister apologises for mistakes in dealing with Covid pandemic
A senior minister has apologised for mistakes made in the handling of the coronavirus pandemic in the UK, after the death of at least 160,000 people and a landmark report that found the government’s management of the outbreak was one of the worst public health failures in British history.
Oliver Dowden, the chair of the Conservative party, said he was “very sorry” and admitted “we didn’t get everything right”, after a major investigation by two cross-party parliamentary select committees chaired by Tory MPs found a “fatalistic” approach taken in the early days of the outbreak led to many unnecessary deaths. It said an approach of British “exceptionalism” meant the UK fared “significantly worse” than others.
After the Cabinet Office minister Stephen Barclay refused to apologise on Tuesday, Dowden struck a more humble note. He told Sky News: “Of course I’m sorry, as the prime minister is sorry. I was just listening to the sort of experiences yesterday of those bereaved families and that kind of terrible loss that they have suffered. We are sorry for the losses that all those families have suffered.
“This was an unprecedented crisis, a once-in-100-years event. There isn’t some perfect rulebook that we could follow, we were having to adapt and move very quickly, and of course we would do some things differently with hindsight.”
The NHS app that lets people prove their vaccine status is not working for some users, a problem that could cause havoc for those trying to use it for travel.
An error message when people try to access their Covid pass says: “Please try again later.”
NHS Digital confirmed there was an issue in a statement on its Twitter feed, where it says the latest information will be posted. A post said: “There are currently issues with accessing the Covid Pass on the NHS app and website. We are investigating the issue and will update as soon as we can.”
Chuck Adolphy, 24, told the Guardian he was meant to fly from Gatwick airport to Slovenia on Wednesday.
When he opened the app, he found he could not retrieve his Covid pass to prove he had been double-jabbed. He said he was turned away and not able to board his plane, despite showing his vaccine card. He called the situation a “shambles”.
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