Saturday, October 31, 2020

When Boris Johnson shook hands with non-existent Covid patients

It's worse than that: Boris Johnson is almost certainly lying here.

I know that's no great surprise - he just says what will get him through the next 10 seconds, whether it's true or not - but it's important we don't lose our capacity to be outraged by this charlatan.

At the time, Johnson was widely assumed to be talking about his visit to Kettering General Hospital on the night of 27/28 February. But the hospital does not appear to have had any Covid patients at the time.

Certainly, the blog post the hospital published at the time made no mention of Covid. It was chiefly concerned with hospital management showing Johnson their need for a new urgent care hub.

Angela Rayner was in no doubt. On 3 March she wrote on Facebook:
Boris Johnson visited Kettering General Hospital and there are NO Coronavirus cases there, but he said he shook hands with patients who had #Coronavirus.
On the next day the Northamptonshire Telegraph did it's best to stand the story up, but fell short:
Where in the county the first coronavirus case is has not yet publicly been made clear, although it is known the patient recently returned from Italy.
Yesterday the Northants Telegraph asked KGH to confirm if it has any cases of coronavirus yet and if so, how many and what action has been taken. 
We also asked if the Prime Minister was talking about KGH when he mentioned shaking hands at a hospital with coronavirus patients.

A hospital spokesman said they won't be commenting.
So there you have it. Johnson told a lie that risked making people lax about taking precautions against the virus because he thought it would make him sound good.

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