Britain's Care Minister, Tory MP Helen Whately, laughed nervously after being confronted with allegations that the true number of deaths in care homes due to COVID-19 is in the thousands, on ITV's Good Morning Britain (GMB) on 15 April.
Host Piers Morgan held up a copy of the Daily Mail which cited figures from Mike Padgham, of the Independent Care Group, alleging that the numbers of people who have died in care homes is at least 4,000 people.
— jo (@jo55adams) April 15, 2020
Video clips of the interview have already started making the rounds on social media showing the cringeworthy interview during which Whately clumsily responds to Morgan's repeated and direct questions as to whether 4,000 people have died in care homes due to COVID-19.
"We have been working incredibly hard..." the Minister started to say before Morgan interrupted her.
"Sorry, Ms Whatley, it's not a question about how hard you're working I assume you're working hard. You're the care minister, it's your job to work hard, please stop telling us how hard you are working".
He continued to repeat the question saying "What I want to know is: is it true that 4,000 people have died in care homes - yes, or no?"
"I wasn't actually talking about me personally", Whatley responded noting that she meant people working across local authorities and in the fields of social care.
"Well I assume you're doing all of that", Morgan replied, repeating the question: "but is it true that 4,000 people have died in care homes? Yes, or no?"
"I'm glad you appreciate we are doing that, I think it is really, really important to take the steps that we can", Whatley said, though still not answering the question.
Morgan then responded by saying "I'll tell you what's important, is that you just answer straight questions... is it true that..." at which point Whatley started to smirk and laugh leading Morgan to ask her "Why are you laughing? What do you find funny about this?"
"I don't find it funny in the slightest", Whatley said.
"Why do you keep laughing then?", Morgan asked.
The Minister claimed that she was "not laughing" and added "please do not suggest for a minute I'm laughing". At which point Morgan challenged her by saying "We literally just saw you laughing".
When it was all said and done no answer was provided as to the actual figures of care home deaths linked to or attributable to COVID-19.
According to the Department of Health and Social Care, as of 9 a.m. on 14 April 93,873 had tested positive for COVID-19 out of the 302,599 people tested.
By 5 p.m. on 13 April, the most recent time for which figures exist, of those hospitalised in the UK with the virus 12,107 have died. The UK government is not currently counting people who have died with COVID-19 outside of hospital, such as in care homes, as part of their COVID-19 fatality figures.