2020欧洲杯足球即时比分Downing Street and the Department of Health are locked in a row over post-Brexit access to an EU pandemic warning system in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
Matt Hancock's department wanted to retain membership of the Early Warning and Response System (EWRS) as part of the EU-UK future relationship deal – but Number 10 said no, The Daily Telegraph has learnt.
2020欧洲杯足球即时比分Senior health advisers warned that exiting the EWRS – which has helped coordinate the response to the virus and played a vital role during the bird flu outbreak – would put public health at risk.
However, the British negotiating team, which reports to Boris Johnson, did not want to blur the UK's request for a basic, Canada-style trade deal, it is claimed. Every add-on requested by the UK would risk giving the EU leverage to demand post-Brexit alignment.
Mr Hancock is also understood to have been told he could not travel to Europe to meet other health ministers because Britain has left the EU.
The details emerged as the Department of Health disclosed 12 new cases of coronavirus in the UK, a 50 per cent increase in the space of just 24 hours.
A senior source told The Telegraph: "The Department of Health pitched for continued access to the EWRS to be an objective of the negotiations, but it was blocked because they didn't want to be accused of seeking more than the basic Canada deal."
David Frost, the UK's chief negotiator, who will lead a team of more than 100 negotiators for the first round of talks in Brussels, is understood to have personally endorsed the decision not to seek EWRS access.
The decision raises serious questions about the UK's ability to protect public health, experts have warned.
The web-based system, set up in 1988, links the European Commission, governments and key agencies such as the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) in order to control serious cross-border threats to health.
2020欧洲杯足球即时比分Last month, the NHS Confederation, the body that speaks for the entire health service, explicitly warned that the risk from a pandemic "could be heightened without continued cooperation with EU" on health issues.
Niall Dickson, the chief executive of the NHS Confederation and its Brexit Health Alliance, which includes research and patient bodies, warned last month that "public health is at risk in a number of areas if health is not made a priority in the forthcoming negotiations with the EU".
In a five-page briefing paper, the Alliance set out five priorities for negotiators including "participation in key EU data-sharing platforms and alert systems, such as the Early Warning and Response System".
Sources said the Government, which has been at pains in recent times to say it does not want "special access"2020欧洲杯足球即时比分 to the EU, had ignored that request.
Separately, The Telegraph understands that Mr Hancock sought permission early last month to travel to Brussels to discuss coronavirus with his EU counterparts, but was refused by Downing Street.
The UK retains access to the EWRS system until Jan 1 next year as part of its standstill transition deal. The Government has said it will not extend the transition period, meaning that unless the UK takes a different tack in negotiations its access will lapse.
Speaking last month, Mr Dickson said: "Our worry is that all sides in these negotiations are under massive time pressures to agree a future trade deal and so there is a risk that the safety and health of patients and citizens across Europe could be overlooked."
2020欧洲杯足球即时比分When the UK published its negotiation mandate last week, there was no mention of the EWRS, with a non-committal pledge to explore co-operation in "specific and narrowly defined areas where this is in the interest of both sides, for example on matters of health security".
The senior Whitehall source said this pledge explicitly did not amount to seeking access to the EWRS and other bodies. "It was a vague commitment to information sharing, not access or participation in the EU system, which was knocked back," the source added.