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Chinese company secured COVID test contract despite previous NHS data hack attempts

By March 10, 2023No Comments

It was revealed in a Westminster Hall debate this week that BGI Group, a Chinese firm, was handed a COVID-19 test contract despite ministers knowing the company had tried to hack the NHS multiple times.

George Freeman, a Minister of State for Science, Research and Innovation, admitted the BGI group has made weekly attempts to hack into Genomics England in 2014 and is still considered a “danger”. Despite possessing this knowledge, the Government awarded the company a £11m COVID-19 testing contract in 2021.

Mr Freeman said, “BGI is clearly one of those danger points in the ecosystem… We are very well aware that we have to manage these risks properly.”

This revelation has understandably raised further concerns about Government procurement processes throughout the pandemic and left MPs fearful that important UK data was, and still is, at risk. This is magnified by increasing hostility towards China among many Tory MPs who wish for the Prime Minister to take a tougher stance towards the country.

The company has also worked alongside and shared data with various UK universities and the Wellcome Trust charitable foundation.

Natalie Creaney