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Boris Johnson has expressed "full confidence" in Health Secretary Matt Hancock over claims he lied about protecting care homes from Covid.

Dominic Cummings says Mr Hancock misled the PM in March 2020 by promising that all residents in England discharged from hospital would be tested.

The PM's former aide says this led to thousands of needless deaths.

Mr Hancock has denied lying but said he had been clear that it would take time to build testing capacity.

"My recollection of events is that I committed to delivering that testing for people going from hospital into care homes when we could do it," he told a Downing Street press conference on Thursday.

"I then went away and built the testing capacity… and then delivered on the commitment that I made."

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The BBC understands acute concern was expressed in Downing Street about what was going wrong in care homes - and what was happening with testing - in the first week of May last year.

It is understood an urgent meeting was called to get to the bottom of what was going on.

In his testimony to a select committee on Wednesday, Mr Cummings said: "We were told categorically in March that people would be tested before they went back to care homes. We only subsequently found out that that hadn't happened.

"The government rhetoric was we put a shield around care homes - it was complete nonsense.

"Quite the opposite of putting a shield around them, we sent people with Covid back to the care homes."

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