Jeremy Hunt denies claims he backed 'Zero Covid' curbs in Britain

Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt denies claims he backed draconian China-style ‘Zero Covid’ curbs in Britain

  • Jeremy Hunt has denied claims that he supported Chinese policy of ‘zero Covid’ 
  • A source close to former Health Secretary has said his words had been ‘twisted’ 
  • Tory MP claimed to MoS that Mr Hunt backed extreme Chinese-style lockdown 

Jeremy Hunt last night furiously denied claims by Tory colleagues that he is a ‘lockdown fanatic’ who supported the draconion Chinese policy of ‘zero Covid’.

One Tory MP claimed to The Mail on Sunday that the former Health Secretary – who is planning a leadership bid if Boris Johnson is ousted – had backed an extreme Chinese-style lockdown during the pandemic, including the forced use of isolation hotels for people who tested positive.

But last night a source close to Mr Hunt, who also served as Foreign Secretary, said his words had been ‘twisted’ by his critics in the party.

The Tory MP who made the claims said that Mr Hunt, whose wife is Chinese, had spoken approvingly of Beijing’s approach during the first wave of the pandemic in summer 2020.

Jeremy Hunt (pictured in 2019) last night furiously denied claims by Tory colleagues that he is a ‘lockdown fanatic’ who supported the draconion Chinese policy of ‘zero Covid’

‘He said that he had heard about the Chinese approach first-hand, through his wife’s family, and thought that they had the right idea,’ the MP said.

In Wuhan, where the virus first started to spread at the end of 2019, the Chinese authorities ordered a lockdown in which only one person per household was allowed to go out once every two days and anyone who came into contact with infected people was forced to stay in isolation hotels.

China is still pursuing its policy of ‘dynamic zero Covid’.

Tensions have been rising in Shanghai, where suspected Covid-positive patients are being forcibly quarantined.

In some neighbourhoods a single positive case can lead to residents in the entire apartment building being isolated.

Residents in at least four of Shanghai’s 16 districts were told they could not receive food deliveries or leave their homes.

Teams in biohazard suits and goggles have also been touring areas of Beijing with disinfectant guns.

But last night, the source close to Mr Hunt said: ‘Jeremy thinks the Chinese zero Covid approach is totally wrong, disproportionate and inhumane.

Members of Blue Sky rescue team disinfecting a residential community in Beijing, China, earlier this week

Last night a source close to Mr Hunt (pictured in December), who also served as Foreign Secretary, said his words had been ‘twisted’ by his critics in the party.

Whilst he previously said there are things we could learn from their response such as test-and-trace and speed in quarantine, it is completely untrue that he has ever backed their draconian approach.

On the contrary, he believes we need to live with Covid through mass vaccination’.

The most draconian lockdown advocate in the Cabinet was Michael Gove.

During arguments about whether to impose a pre-Christmas lockdown in November 2020, the Levelling Up Secretary persuaded Mr Johnson – or ‘steamrollered him’, in the words of one source – by using a Covid meeting to argue that if a lockdown was not introduced, there would be so many infections that ‘the Army would have to be deployed around hospitals to turn away the ambulances’.

A source said: ‘Michael delivered this apocalyptic warning with his trademark sinister politeness’. Mr Gove declined to comment.

Last week, authoritative data was published that challenges the effectiveness of strict lockdowns.

The UN Health Agency reported that Sweden had one of the lowest numbers of excess deaths during the crisis, despite refusing to impose strict restrictions.

In 2020 and 2021, Sweden had an average excess death rate of 56 per 100,000 people – compared with 109 in the UK, 111 in Spain, 116 in Germany and 133 in Italy.

North Korea’s spiralling Covid crisis has plunged the rogue state into its ‘greatest turmoil’ ever, according to dictator Kim Jong Un.

Reports from state media yesterday said 27 people had died, while more than half a million had fallen ill following a rapid spread of a virus since late April.

The 39-year-old leader called for an all-out battle to tackle the rampaging virus during an emergency meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party.

‘The spread of the malignant epidemic is the greatest turmoil to fall on our country since the founding,’ he said.

Officials announced the country’s first confirmed case on Thursday, though experts believe the virus has been circulating for some time.

There are fears a major outbreak could have dire consequences due to a lack of a vaccine programme.

Source: Read Full Article