Wednesday, 30 Sep 2020

Boris Johnson says it's 'too early to judge' if lockdown was too late

The prime minister has said the timing of lockdown ‘will need to be examined in the fullness of time’,

He was pressed on the issue after Professor Neil Ferguson said that the UK’s death toll could have been halved if the country locked down a week earlier.

Boris Johnson told the daily press briefing: ‘I have nothing to add to the views of the members of Sage.

‘I think that all such judgments will need to be examined in the fullness of time.

‘A lot of the questions  this evening have been about what we got wrong in the past, what do we say about what we may have got wrong.

Visit our live blog for the latest updates: Coronavirus news live

‘All I can say is that it’s too early to judge ourselves, we simply don’t know the answer to a lot of these questions but we know a lot more now than we did in January, February,  or even March. One thing we do know about tackling coronavirus is that you have to proceed with caution.’

Chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance added: ‘The general point is should we go back and look carefully at the phasing of the measures, the different groups of measures, which one made the biggest impact and can we see in retrospect which ones are most import, that’s going to be important in judging the future should this happen again in the winter. 

‘There’s time to go back and do all of that analysis and we absolutely should go back and look.’

Neil Ferguson, professor of mathematical biology at Imperial College London, has told the Science and Technology Committee: ‘The epidemic was doubling every three to four days before lockdown interventions were introduced.

‘So, had we introduced lockdown measures a week earlier, we would have reduced the final death toll by at least a half.’

However, he added that based on what was known about transmission and fatalities at the time, the measures were warranted.

Mr Ferguson said that a paper in Nature today highlights that just before lockdown happened, the first two weeks of March, there were 1,500 to 2,000 infections imported from Italy and Spain ‘which we just hadn’t seen in the surveillance data until that point’.

He added: ‘There was much heavier seeding than we expected.

‘We frankly had underestimated how far into the epidemic this country was. That’s part of the reason [for excess UK deaths].’

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected]

For more stories like this, check our news page.

Source: Read Full Article

Related Posts