Matt Hancock used the phrase ‘protective ring’ about care homes long before he claims8 June 2021What was claimed Matt Hancock used the phrase “protective ring” to describe the government’s winter Covid-19 plan, and claims to the contrary misinterpret his comments. Our verdict Mr Hancock appears to have first used this phrase about care homes on 15 May 2020 to describe action taken during the first wave of the pandemic. During an appearance on The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, 6 June, Health Secretary Matt Hancock denied claims that he had spoken about throwing a “protective ring” around care homes at the early stages of the Covid-19 crisis. Asked by Mr Marr if he regretted his use of the phrase “protective ring”, Mr Hancock said: “Well I said that much later, about what we were doing for the winter plan, and it’s been interpreted.”But Mr Hancock actually did use the phrase multiple times in May 2020, to describe action taken during the first wave of the pandemic. During a Downing Street press conference on 15 May, 2020, Mr Hancock said: “Right from the start, it’s been clear that this horrible virus affects older people most.