Cabinet was not informed of evidence to support shortening COVID-19 quarantine, says Rees-Mogg

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cabinet was not informed of discussions to shorten the self-isolation period, former minister Jacob Rees-Mogg said.

The UK’s chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, told former health secretary Matt Hancock as early as November 2020 that getting tested every day for five days is “pretty good” with a 10-day quarantine. After The Telegraph reported.

In response to the revelation, Rees-Mogg, who was in the cabinet during the pandemic, told GB News that he would have questioned the government’s decision to continue the longer quarantine period.

Telegraph’s lockdown file The series is based on over 100,000 WhatsApp messages obtained from government ministers and officials discussing jobs during the pandemic.

The messages, mostly about Hancock, were published by journalist Isabelle Oakshott. Journalist Isabel Oakshott had been granted access to them by the former health secretary himself when he asked for her help to co-write the “Pandemic Diaries” book.

Since February 28th, the newspaper has published over 40 articles based in part on the message. The Epoch Times did not review the message and was unable to independently confirm the context in which the discussion took place.

From test to release

the newspaper is thread On November 17, 2020, just before the government announced its COVID-19 winter plan, Hancock and Whitty apparently discussed COVID-19 self-isolation.

At the time, people told by NHS Test and Trace that they had been in close contact with someone who tested positive had to self-isolate for 14 days.

Asked to provide an update on the so-called test-to-release options, Whitty told Hancock that the chief medical officer and the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) would have five or 10 tests each day. He said he was in favor of running a pilot program to try out the tests. 1 day quarantine instead of 14 days.

Hancock responded that five days “sounds like a massive slack”.

“And we think adherence is likely to be good. says Whitty.

Hancock retorted, “This sounds very risky. There is no turning back.”

He suggested testing daily for 10 days as a “safer starting point,” but Whitty told Hancock that those who showed symptoms were also supposed to be tested for PCR, so “we could push it up to 7.” You can do it, but the effect really levels off after 5.” .

“So the 14-day quarantine has been far too long?” Hancock asked.

Epoch Times photo
The UK’s then-Health Secretary Matt Hancock speaks during the daily COVID-19 digital press conference in London on April 15, 2020.

After being told that 14 days was “slightly safer than 10” but that marginal gains would “almost certainly” be lost due to poor adherence, Hancock decided to do seven days of daily testing. Decided.

“But when you go below that, people have serious concerns and it means we were wrong. Because the test detects disease before symptoms, it could probably explain some of the short duration.” ‘ he wrote.

Six days later, then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson told MPs that a week of daily testing of contacts, rather than a two-week quarantine, would be tested in Liverpool.

Hancock’s office said the Telegraph’s Lockdown File article was “wrong because it was based entirely on a partial account.”

Decision made by the quad

Speaking to GB News about the revelation, Rees-Mogg said the decision during the pandemic was not made by the entire Cabinet, but by the “quads” (Johnson, Hancock, then-Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, and then-Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove.

“I was in the Cabinet … I didn’t know Chris Whitty said the quarantine period could be shortened to three days perfectly safe. ?’” he said.

During the first two years of the pandemic, Rees-Mogg was president of the House of Representatives. He later held other ministerial roles under Johnson and his successor, Liz Truss. became a person

Epoch Times photo
In this photo illustration, the UK Government’s new Test and Trace application displayed on a handheld device in London on September 24, 2020. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

When asked how he missed information that co-host Beverly Turner said was “out there for anyone who wants to know,” Reese Mogg said, “It wasn’t what was briefed in the Cabinet.” Stated.

The former minister said the entire cabinet was informed the decision had been made, but “the enthusiasm to keep people locked up was not shared with the rest of the cabinet or the evidence”.

Noting that Prime Minister Snak “was insisting on easing the lockdown,” Reesemog said that by the time Cabinet debated, “most of the decisions had already been made.”

“For those of us who weren’t on the quad, we had a pre-cabinet briefing to basically tell you what was decided and the outcome,” he said.

Rees-Mogg echoed statements that the lockdown had caused mental health and civil liberties issues and had a “devastating impact” on the economy, saying it “should never happen again”.