Outgoing Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been torn apart online for attacking Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s response to the coronavirus crisis.
Jeremy Corbyn has said it is “ludicrous” that almost half a million health service staff and care workers have not yet been tested for coronavirus. In an interview with Sky News, the outgoing Labour leader also said that if he had been elected as Prime Minister, he hopes that the UK would have recognised the seriousness of the virus sooner. But Mr Corbyn faced a harsh backlash for his comments against Boris Johnson, with one Twitter user branding them “disgusting” in a brutal attack.
Asked how he would have handled the situation, Mr Corbyn said: “I hope we’d have started onto it more quickly and recognised the seriousness of it from the World Health Organisation warnings that were sent out in January from China and recognised that the only way you can get on top of it is by knowing how severe it is and that means testing.
“The fact that we are not yet even testing 10,000 people a day is very, very serious indeed.
“There are almost half a million people working in the NHS and the care sector, even they have not yet been tested. It is ludicrous. We have got to get on top of testing.”
Mr Corbyn also said that the UK should not have had 10 years of austerity which had caused difficulty for the NHS in coping with the virus.
He added: “It has obviously been a very fast-moving crisis, we do have to bring it under control.
“Testing is a very, very important way of it, but also the superhuman efforts of people throughout the NHS to free up beds, to bring staff back, to bring retired staff back and now to open three new hospitals is wonderful and we should applaud them.
“But we shouldn’t have had 10 years of austerity when we ended up with 94 percent bed occupancy in the NHS and obviously a difficulty in coping because of that.”
Twitter users immediately hit out at the Labour leader for attacking the Prime Minister.
One person wrote: “He is sitting there in hindsight just attacking every single thing the Government is doing. Disgusting.”
Another added: “The Prime Minister’s approval ratings are sky-high, he has proven that he is a capable leader. Unlike Jeremy Corbyn.”
A third person said: “Just watched Jeremy Corbyn interview on Sky News and yet again he likes to point out everyone else’s failings (in his opinion).
“Just remember if the UK trusted you to cope with anything you would be dealing with this and yet you’ve been benched.”
It comes as a total of 2,921 patients have died in hospital after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK as of 5pm on Wednesday, the Department of Health said, up by 569 from 2,352 the day before.
The Government is to ramp up testing for COVID-19 after Boris Johnson said it was the key to “unlock the coronavirus puzzle”.
Downing Street said Health Secretary Matt Hancock would be setting out plans for a “significant increase” amid criticism the UK has been lagging behind other countries.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said the Government had finally reached its target of 10,000 tests a day, with 10,412 carried out on Tuesday in NHS and Public Health England (PHE) laboratories across the UK.