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‘Government has lost control’: Labour leader Starmer slams PM Johnson over handling of coronavirus crisis

‘Government has lost control’: Labour leader Starmer slams PM Johnson over handling of coronavirus crisis
British opposition leader Keir Starmer has accused the government of having lost control of the coronavirus crisis, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson readies new restrictions to tackle an increase in Covid-19 cases.

Addressing his party’s conference, Starmer said on Tuesday that Labour would be constructive and needed the Conservative government to succeed. However, he sharply criticized the country’s coronavirus testing system, saying that it “collapsed just when we needed it most.” Starmer added that “instead of getting a grip, the government has lost control.”

It has demonstrated “serial incompetence” in the handling of the Covid crisis, Starmer noted, citing “the under-funding of the NHS, the abandonment of social care and the lack of investment in prevention.” Speaking about PM Johnson, the opposition leader said: “He’s just not serious. He’s just not up to the job.”

Labour had to win back the trust of voters to win back power, Starmer said in an online broadcast, adding that the party needed to “get serious about winning.”

Johnson is expected to tell people on Tuesday to work from home where possible, just weeks after urging people to head back into the office. The government is not proposing a full lockdown like it imposed in March, but that could happen in some coronavirus hotspots, according to Johnson’s office and ministers.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has said he is ready to roll out fresh restrictions in the capital in a bid to slow the spread of the virus.

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The prime minister will also force pubs and restaurants to close at 10pm from Thursday, while venues will be restricted to table service only.

Medical chiefs earlier hiked the Covid-19 alert level in the UK from three to four, meaning transmission of the virus is high or is rising exponentially.

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