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Covid Inquiry Reveals Johnson Blaming Welsh Rates on Singing and Obesity

Former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson attributed high Covid-19 rates in Wales to singing and obesity, a claim revealed in an advisor's diary during a Covid-19 inquiry. Sir Patrick Vallance's journal included Johnson stating, "Wales very high, PM says 'it is the singing and the obesity,'" though Johnson was not questioned on this remark in the inquiry.
Johnson defended his decision not to implement a 'circuit breaker' lockdown in England, despite claims that such a measure in Wales was necessary. Lee Cain, Johnson's ex-communications chief, had supported Wales' decision, while Johnson emphasized the lack of clear scientific advice and the health secretary's opposition. He preferred a regional strategy for England.

In October 2020, Wales initiated a 'firebreak' lockdown, ordering closures of many venues to combat the virus spread. First Minister Mark Drakeford described this as a measure to buy time. While the lockdown led to a temporary dip in infection rates in Wales, numbers surged again post-lockdown, sparking criticism.

Johnson praised his pandemic cooperation with Drakeford and pointed out the UK's united response to the crisis. He mentioned assigning Michael Gove to oversee relations with the devolved governments and praised the effective collaboration.

However, there were tensions; Drakeford expressed frustration with Johnson's communication style in a documentary, and Bethan Harris, representing bereaved families, highlighted Drakeford's desire for more direct engagement with the prime minister.

Plaid Cymru's Mabon ap Gwynfor criticized Johnson's alleged dismissive comment about Wales, labeling him a "disastrous prime minister." The Welsh government has not commented on the inquiry's findings.

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