BUNGLING World Health Organisation bosses dismissed crucial Covid evidence from China as a “mistranslation”, Matt Hancock sensationally claimed today.
The Health Secretary revealed he saw data in January 2020 that coronavirus could spread without symptoms – but that international scientists insisted this was wrong.
Only in April last year did experts finally U-turn to warn asymptomatic people were also infectious.
The botched advice likely killed thousands, including many in care homes where asymptomatic cases ran rife.
Mr Hancock this morning told MPs he “bitterly” regretted not sticking to his gut hunch and overruling the WHO.
He said: “I heard evidence from China that there was asymptomatic transmission in January and I also remember talking to my German opposite number and they had seen some evidence in Germany.
I asked the scientists to look into it and in fact was so worried about it that I arranged a call with the WHO and I was told on that call that with respect to China this was likely a mistranslation… after that we did not get the evidence from China that could have proved it.
“So I was in the position of not having hard evidence that a global scientific consensus of decades was wrong, but having an instinct that it was.
“And I bitterly regret not overruling that scientific advice at the start and saying we should proceed on the basis there is asymptomatic transmission until we know that there isn’t, and not the other way around.”
The WHO only changed its advice that Covid spread asymptomatically in late April.
Mr Hancock is defending his handling of the Covid crisis to the joint science and health committee.
Most read in Politics
Defiant Matt Hancock insists he DIDN'T lie to Boris Johnson over Covid
Schoolboys demanding nude pics from girls & sharing them with pals in sick game
‘GREEN’ PM’S JET
The PM faces flak for flying 250 miles in an RAF plane to the G7 summit
EU threatens Britain with trade war after PM vows to ignore sausage blockade
Boris Johnson and Joe Biden will discuss reopening UK-US travel when they meet at G7
WORTH A SHOT
Boris Johnson to ask G7 leaders for a BILLION vaccines for world's poorest
In his bombshell session last month Dominic Cummings said Mr Hancock misled the PM that all care home residents coming from hospital were being tested.
Pressed today if he has ever brazenly lied to Mr Johnson, the Health Secretary bluntly replied: “No.”
The Health Sec repeated his account that his department had to build testing capacity before care home residents could be tested.