British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Wednesday he takes full responsibility for the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, two days after appearing to blame workers in health care facilities for the deaths of residents there.
Johnson was responding in parliament to opposition Labour Party Leader Keir Starmer, who quoted the prime minister regarding deaths in British care homes. Johnson said, “too many care workers did not follow procedures the way they should have.” Starmer said front-line care workers took great offense at the remark and called on Johnson to apologize.
The prime minister responded by saying the last thing he wanted to do was blame care workers or for anyone to think he was blaming them and said they have done “an outstanding job.” He said, “When it comes to taking blame, I take full responsibility for what has happened.”
Johnson added that no one knew when the pandemic began that COVID-19 would spread asymptomatically the way it does, and procedures changed.
Starmer said Johnson’s explanation was not an apology and said by refusing to do so, Johnson “rubs salt in the wound” of the frontline workers he says he admires so much.
Johnson responded by calling for bipartisan measures to invest in and reform Britain’s care home sector.