British PM Again Defends COVID-19 Response as Cases Rise
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson Wednesday once again defended his government’s approach to controlling the spread of COVID-19 as the number of new cases rose sharply. During the prime minister’s weekly “question time” before members of parliament, opposition Labor Party Leader Keir Starmer noted that 19 out of 20 parts of the country where government has implemented COVID-19 restrictions, have seen rises in infections.Johnson stood by the limits and insisted measures such as the “rule of six,” which prohibits gatherings of six people or more, indoors or out, the wearing of masks and the washing of hands, will help control the spread of the virus.Starmer also questioned Johnson about the almost 16,000 COVID-19 cases that were missed by the government’s testing system, mostly in the northwest of England – one of the regions subject to local restrictions. He noted that would mean the contacts of those cases would also not have been traced. Johnson, who blamed the missed cases on a computer error, assured the opposition leader and the House of Commons that all the 16,000 cases have been contacted and “should be self-isolating.” He said the government continues to work on finding their contacts.The prime minister also assured the members of parliament that after reviewing the missing data, the figures did not “change in any way, our assessment of the epidemiology, the spread of the disease.”On Tuesday, the British government reported more than 14,500 new infections in 24 hours, twice the number reported a week earlier.