Peter Borg-Neal (pictured) is challenging health secretary Matt Hancock to prove that the spike in England’s Covid-19 cases emanates from pubs and restaurants.
The chairman of Oakman Inns, which owns 28 pubs across southern England and the Midlands, has publicly pointed out that Mr Hancock is repeatedly being advised by his own officials at PHE that all Acute Respiratory Infections cases in pubs and restaurants are consistently low.
Borg-Neal’s challenge follows the health secretary’s appearance on Friday’s Radio 4 Today programme, where he said: “We know that the vast majority of transmissions happen in social settings, whether that’s in hospitality or in people’s own homes. The good news is that the proportion of cases being passed on in workplaces is relatively low.”
According to the latest PHE statistics highlighted by Oakman Inns, neither of these statements are true.
Last week, there were less than 34 cases reported across the entire pub and restaurant sector, despite record visits during the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.
“Given the existential nature of the threat to our economy and the clear evidence that the secretary of state for health has, either deliberately or accidentally, misled the nation, I believe that the situation needs to come under full parliamentary scrutiny,” says Borg-Neal.