Matt Hancock asked why the UK has had 10,000 care home deaths, when South Korea has had none

James Besanvalle
Tuesday 19 May 2020 13:00
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Matt Hancock has been taken to task over the coronavirus crisis happening in care homes across the UK.

During Tuesday’s PMQs, Labour’s Sarah Owen asked:

The Health and Social Care Select Committee has just heard evidence that there has been not one single care home death in Hong Kong or South Korea, despite their proximity to China and a shorter time to prepare for this crisis.

In comparison, the UK has now tragically seen over 10,000 deaths of loved ones in care homes. How can [the] government describe this as a “success” and isn’t it time now to learn from other countries who have genuinely put a protective ring around their care homes.

Standing up in the Commons, Hancock responded:

Yes, absolutely. It’s important to learn from everywhere around the world and this epidemic has had a different shape in different parts of the world. As she knows, a very significant impact around Europe.

Owens posted her question to the Health Secretary on Twitter and people had a lot of thoughts:

Breaking down the fact South Korea has seen no Covid-19 related deaths in care homes, Adelina Comas-Herrera, assistant professorial research fellow at the London School of Economics, told the Commons health committee:

That is because anybody with suspected Covid was immediately isolated and if they tested positive were removed into quarantine centres, and/or hospitals.

In contrast, Professor Martin Green, chief executive of Care England revealed during the same committee meeting today that elderly people with coronavirus symptoms were released back into care homes without getting tests.

He said:

Given that care homes are full of people with underlying health conditions, I think we should’ve looked at focusing on where the people most at-risk were.

Nearly 6,000 care homes have reported outbreaks of coronavirus across the UK.

At the time of writing, more than 246,000 people have tested positive for Covid-19 in the UK and sadly 34,796 people have died.

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