Tag: Boris

18,000 elderly people have died of COVID-19 in British care homes and now Boris Johnson’s government is being accused of human rights abuse



a man and a woman standing in front of a mirror: Care worker Sarah Cox helps fix care home resident, Patricia Taylor's hair on May 6, 2020 in Borehamwood, England Getty


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Care worker Sarah Cox helps fix care home resident, Patricia Taylor’s hair on May 6, 2020 in Borehamwood, England Getty

  • The death of thousands of COVID-19 in British care homes was a violation of their human rights, according to Amnesty International.
  • The human rights organization has now called for the public inquiry, promised by the government in July, to begin immediately. 
  • The report also raised particular concerns about the inappropriate use of “do not attempt resuscitation” (DNAR) orders issued on a blanket basis in care homes.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

More than 18,000 untested elderly people died of COVID-19 in British care homes in what a damning new report from Amnesty International has described as a violation of their human rights.

Between March and June, over 28,116 “excess deaths” were recorded in care homes in England, with 18,500 of them confirmed to have been from COVID-19, according to the human rights group’s Crisis Response team.

The report. entitled As If Expendable: The UK Government’s Failure to Protect Older People in Care Homes during the COVID-19 Pandemic, found that many of the deaths were “entirely avoidable.”

Amnesty International, the world’s leading human rights group,  has called for the public inquiry promised by the government in July to begin immediately in a move that would compel the government to release confidential records and documents. 

Ministers, including Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock, would also be required to testify under oath and attempt to justify their actions, which Amnesty International has called “shockingly irresponsible.” 

Until March 13, two days after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared coronavirus a global pandemic, Public Health England had said that “there is no need to do anything differently in any care setting at present.”

Four days later, the government ordered the discharge of 25,000 hospital patients into care homes and reiterated the instruction at the beginning of March despite the WHO confirming the existence of pre-symptomatic cases on the very same day. 

The Amnesty report also raised particular concerns about the inappropriate use of “do not attempt resuscitation” (DNAR) orders issued to care managers who were told to add the instruction to residents’ files as a blanket approach.

Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s Senior Crisis Adviser and author of the report, told Business Insider: “The DNAR orders have not been revised since they were imposed and we are calling for the government’s Department of Health and Social Care to immediately investigate the issue and every single case individually. 

“It is imperative that lessons are learned so that the same mistakes are not repeated, and that those responsible for such disastrous decisions are held accountable.”

Care home residents were often denied access to NHS services they were entitled to, the report found. Staff and relatives told Amnesty that sending residents to hospital was heavily discouraged or outright refused, “violating their right to health and potentially their right to life, as well as their right to non-discrimination,” according to the report.

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Fear sets in that Boris Johnson’s Brexit government is ill equipped to handle a pandemic | World

However, this reliance on (and success of) his Brexit persona, as opposed to his previous incarnation as the liberal-conservative Mayor of London, means that combative, confrontational style of politics is a must in the DNA of any government he leads.

Observers fear that taking this flavor of politics from the campaign trail to government might make central government too thinly stretched and chaotic for handling the dovetailed crises of a pandemic and Brexit.

CNN reached out to Downing Street but a spokesperson declined to comment on the record.

Constant source of controversy

There is an immediate concern that the government’s single-mindedness on Brexit has in itself hampered its handling of the pandemic. “This government doesn’t want to be seen to need the EU in any sense, which, in my view, resulted in its choice not to participate in joint procurement schemes at the start of the pandemic,” says Menon. Earlier in the crisis, the UK opted not to work with the EU in its vaccine scheme or its ventilator procurement program.

Others suspect that Johnson’s personal investment in Brexit takes up crucial government resources. “On one hand, you have a pandemic which you could not plan for … on the other you have Brexit, which you campaigned (for) and won on and you need to give it attention if it’s going to end well,” says Salma Shah, a former Conservative government adviser.

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Boris Johnson’s Brexit government is ill equipped to handle a pandemic, some fear

It’s been another week of difficult headlines for Boris Johnson. Once again, serious questions are being asked of Britain’s Prime Minister and his administration’s approach to handling the Covid-19 pandemic and, more broadly, the style of government.



Boris Johnson wearing a suit and tie: LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 05: Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks to a member of staff as he visits the headquarters of Octopus Energy on October 05, 2020 in London, England. The prime minister and Chancellor of Exchequer Rishi Sunak visited the British "tech unicorn" - a startup company valued at more than USD$1 billion - to promote the company's plan to create 1,000 new technology jobs across sites in London, Brighton, Warwick and Leicester, and a new tech hub in Manchester. (Photo by Leon Neal - WPA Pool /Getty Images)


© Leon Neal/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images
LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 05: Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks to a member of staff as he visits the headquarters of Octopus Energy on October 05, 2020 in London, England. The prime minister and Chancellor of Exchequer Rishi Sunak visited the British “tech unicorn” – a startup company valued at more than USD$1 billion – to promote the company’s plan to create 1,000 new technology jobs across sites in London, Brighton, Warwick and Leicester, and a new tech hub in Manchester. (Photo by Leon Neal – WPA Pool /Getty Images)

Things kicked off with Johnson being criticized for sending mixed messages in a BBC interview on Sunday, in which he warned that coronavirus restrictions could last until 2021, but also that he needed to get the economy moving. Arguably sending a vague message for a public unsure of what to do as the virus spreads exponentially, he said, “What we want people to do is behave fearlessly but with common sense.”

Things got worse, as the government was forced to admit that 16,000 confirmed cases went unreported due to a technical glitch.

Cases are rising in universities just weeks after students returned to campuses: more than 1,000 students at Newcastle University tested positive for Covid-19 over an eight-day period, along with another 770 cases at the University of Northumbria, while three universities in north England have stopped face-to-face teaching.

Concerns about the rise in cases and the testing system were not helped by a cabinet minister having to admit on Wednesday that the country is experiencing supply chain issues with a pharmaceutical company that supplies tests to the UK.

And Johnson is under fire from all sides for his approach to introducing further restrictions across the country. Criticism ranges from decisions on local restrictions being taken in central government by the PM and his close team — without consulting local leaders — to curfews not being backed by scientific evidence.



a man wearing glasses and smiling at the camera: The contempt held by Dominic Cummings for the establishment, the media and even members of Boris Johnson's party is well known.


© Peter Summers/Getty Images
The contempt held by Dominic Cummings for the establishment, the media and even members of Boris Johnson’s party is well known.

Some in his own Conservative party admit that Johnson wouldn’t be their first pick for leader during a pandemic. “His personal skillset this doesn’t play to it. He’s not a details, manager type. He’s a leader and picture painter,” says one veteran Conservative. “A situation for which there is divided opinion scientifically, politically and changing patterns on how to manage the response is difficult for him.”

A former Conservative cabinet minister agrees “he doesn’t go into the microscopic detail.” However, they ask, “where’s the surprise in that? When Boris was elected to lead this party, we needed someone with a bit of flair who could get Brexit over the line by

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Boris Johnson’s government looked at building wave machines to stop migrant boats crossing the English Channel



Priti Patel, Boris Johnson looking at a laptop: The UK Home Secretary Priti Patel and Boris Johnson Getty


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The UK Home Secretary Priti Patel and Boris Johnson Getty

  • The UK government considered creating a wave machine in order to stop migrants crossing the English Channel to the UK from France.
  • The Financial Times on Wednesday reported that the Home Office discussed a plan to install boats with pumps generating waves in the Channel.
  • The idea was dismissed due to the risk that they would cause small boats to capsize.
  • The UK is currently experiencing record numbers of people claiming asylum who are crossing the Channel from France, with 7,000 people estimated to have arrived in the UK in small boats this year.
  • Labour’s shadow home secretary said: ‘This is a vile example of how degraded an environment the Tories have created.’
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The UK government has considered plans to build wave machines designed to stop migrants crossing the English Channel from France

The Financial Times on Wednesday reported that the Home Office discussed a plan to instal boats with pumps generating waves in the Channel, before the idea was dismissed due to the risk that they would cause boats to capsize.

Officials also considered whether it might be possible to link a series of small boats together in order to form a physical barrier to deter migrants, the FT reported.

Labour’s shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds criticised the mooted plans, tweeting: “This is a vile example of how degraded an environment the Tories have created. The Windrush Review was damning about the inhumane culture they have created at the Home Office. They’ve learned nothing.”

The UK is currently experiencing record numbers of people claiming asylum who are crossing the Channel from France, with 7,000 people estimated to have arrived in the UK in small boats this year, according to PA Media.

Patel in August said the number of crossings was “appalling and unacceptably high” and said she was working to make the route “unviable.”

Multiple reports appearing in Thursday’s newspapers, outline other “blue-sky” plans discussed by her department to deter migrants.

The story began when the Financial Times reported on Tuesday that Patel had asked officials to consider opening an immigration center on Ascension Island, which is in the South Atlantic.

Downing Street on Wednesday did not deny the plans, with a Number 10 spokesman saying: “As part of this work we’ve been looking at what a whole host of other countries do to inform a plan for the United Kingdom.”

A further report in The Times on Thursday claimed that the government is considering processing asylum seekers on disused ferries moored off the UK coast, a plan which a government official confirmed to Politico remains under consideration.

A report in the Mail claimed that the government could alternatively open an immigration facility in the Isle of Wight, the Shetlands, or the Isle of Man.

Allies of Patel suspect that civil servants have leaked details of the plans in order to invite mockery against her following

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