JEREMY Hunt has blasted Boris Johnson for not doing enough over the coronavirus “national emergency”.
The longest serving Health Secretary revealed he was “surprised and concerned” at some of the Prime Ministers decisions.
Read our coronavirus live blog for all the latest news and updates
Now chair of the Commons health and social care select committee, Mr Hunt insisted the PM must do more to encourage social distancing.
He said: “The issue is not whether you or I might get infected at a football match, it’s who we go on to meet.
“Whether we then go on to have tea with our friend who is recovering from cancer, our grandfather our our grandmother.
“I think it is surprising and concerning that we’re not doing any of it at all when we have just four weeks before we get to the stage that Italy is at.
“You would have thought that every single thing we do in that four weeks would be designed to slow the spread of people catching the virus.”
The former Tory leadership rival added he was also “personally surprised that we’re still allowing external visits to care homes”.
A leading public health expert backed his comments, saying the Government had “lost control” of the situation.
John Ashton, former regional director of public health, said: “I’m embarrassed by the situation in this country. This talk of four stages, and we’re now moving on from the containment thing – we’ve lost the plot here.
“We haven’t taken the action that we should have taken four or five weeks ago.”
However, the criticism was dismissed by Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance who insisted the new advice was a “big intervention”.
He explained smaller events were a far greater threat than being at a football match.
Sir Patrick added: “The most likely place you are going to get an infection from is a family member or friend in a small space, not in a big space.”
It comes one day on from the PM warning “many more families” will lose loved ones to coronavirus as he moved the UK into the ‘delay’ phase of his battleplan for the deadly bug.
The Government yesterday told anyone with a mild cough or temperature to stay at home for seven days following a COBRA meeting – as the total number of UK cases hit 596, with 10 deaths.
The second stage of Boris’ four-part battleplan, “delay” means Britain will now aim to slow down the spread of coronavirus and reduce the number of people being infected to delay the peak.
Mr Johnson has decided to keep schools open despite Ireland announcing it would shut theirs down until the end of March to try and stop the spread.