UK’s health minister denies claim he lied during pandemic

LONDON (AP) — British Health Secretary Matt Hancock has defended his handling of the coronavirus pandemic following a series of damaging allegations from Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s former top adviser. Facing questioning from lawmakers, Hancock said Thursday that he had “no idea” why Dominic Cummings had a dispute with him and that he’d become aware that Cummings had wanted him fired. Two weeks ago, Cummings told the same lawmakers investigating the virus outbreak that Hancock “should have been fired” for a series of lies and errors during the pandemic.  The U.K. has recorded nearly 128,000 coronavirus-related deaths, more than any other nation in Europe. It’s also seen recent spike in new infections largely due to the delta variant first identified in India.