The UK business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, has defended Matt Hancock against criticism that he failed to protect people in care homes at the outset of the Covid pandemic, saying residents “were protected as far as we could”.
The health secretary is under mounting pressure after Dominic Cummings accused him of promising ministers that all care residents in England were tested before being discharged back to their homes and then lying about this.
On Thursday, Hancock denied the allegation but his explanation that it “wasn’t possible” to test all care home residents before they were discharged from hospital last March because the testing capacity was not yet available, has been called into question.
Kwarteng said it was “very easy with hindsight” to say where things could have been improved.
“I completely understand the anger and frustration about care homes, because a large number of people died, and it was a terrible situation,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. “I think what Mr Hancock said was very clear. He’s always maintained that he wanted to build up the testing capacity. I think he was largely successful in that.”