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Monday, October 18, 2021

COVID news live: Calls for probe after reports of negative PCR tests despite positive lateral flows

Oliver Dowden, the co-chairman of the Conservative Party, told Kay Burley on Sky News he had read the report into the government’s handling of the pandemic.

It comes after Cabinet Office minister Steve Barclay yesterday claimed he hadn’t read it.

Asked if he was happy to offer an apology, Mr Dowden said: “The prime minister apologised earlier this year for all the hurt and distress that all those families suffered and I share that and I offer that as well. It’s been a terrible time for every family affected by this terrible virus.”

He continued: “I welcome this report. It’s a very good report by Greg Clark and Jeremy Hunt. The government will, as we do with all these reports, be fully analysing it and giving a full response.”

Mr Dowden added: “Yes of course I’m sorry, as the prime minister is sorry.”

He said he had listened to the experiences yesterday of the bereaved families and that “kind of terrible loss they suffered”.

“So many people have suffered, not just in this country but around the world. We’re sorry for the losses that all those families have suffered,” he added.

He said he thought people would appreciate that this was an “unprecedented crisis, it’s a once in a hundred years event”, adding: “There isn’t some perfect rule book we could follow.”

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