Boris Johnson has accused Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer of ‘selectively quoting’ government guidelines that said care home residents were ‘very unlikely’ to contract Covid-19.
Sir Keir cited government advice, which ran until 12 March, that stated it is ‘very unlikely that anyone in a care home of the community will become infected’ at Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday. Mr Johnson replied that ‘it wasn’t true the advice said that’, although it did – twice.
In a letter sent yesterday, Mr Johnson then accused the Labour leader of quoting the guidance ‘selectively and misleadingly’, after Sir Keir called for him to return to the Commons to correct the record about the coronavirus advice.
The Prime Minister said Sir Keir had omitted the preceding sentence, which said that advice was ‘intended for the current position in the UK where there is currently no transmission of Covid-19 in the community’, when quoting the guidance.
The same guidance also said: ‘Facemasks are only recommended to be worn by infected individuals when advised by a healthcare worker, to reduce the risk of transmitting the infection to other people.
‘It remains very unlikely that people receiving care in a care home or the community will become infected.’
At PMQs, Sir Keir also accused the Government of being ‘too slow to protect people in care homes’, pointing out that care homes accounted for two-fifths of recent Covid-19 deaths.
The Prime Minister responded: ‘It is absolutely true that the number of casualties has been too high, but I can tell the House that the number of outbreaks is down and the number of fatalities in care homes is now well down.’
There were 2,423 care homes Covid-19 fatalities in England and Wales in the week ending 1 May, the latest data available – down from 2,794 the week before.
Last week, care home directors told Nursing in Practice that adult social care has not yet faced the peak of coronavirus infections after Covid-19 deaths in care homes nearly doubled in a week.
RCN chief executive Dame Donna Kinnair this week warned that nurses must have adequate personal protective equipment and testing before the lockdown is scaled back any further.