Government slow coronavirus response ‘cost lives’, claims former chief scientific adviser
- Credit: Archant
The government's slow response to coronavirus has led to deaths, a former chief scientific adviser has said.
Professor Sir David King told LBC radio he did not know why it took so long to take action once the virus began to spread in China.
He said: 'I'm very saddened by the predicament we're in. Why we didn't respond so much sooner once this epidemic broke out in China, I simply don't know.
'And I say this because in 2006, we published a report on actions needed to deal with a pandemic, and in that report, we showed that if an outbreak occurred of any new virus of this kind anywhere in the world, within three months, due to air travel, it would be everywhere in the world.
'That of course is what has happened and it seems like we were unprepared and we didn't take action.
You may also want to watch:
'We didn't manage this until too late and every day's delay has resulted in further deaths in the United Kingdom.'
Sir David, who was chief scientific adviser from 2000 to 2007, also said he believes that austerity policies under the Tory-Liberal Democrat coalition have affected the response to Covid-19.
- 1 Joe Biden’s ‘candid’ message to Boris Johnson on Northern Ireland Brexit row
- 2 Why don't Brexiteers like to talk about Brexit any more?
- 3 Brexit: British 'expats' in Spain facing deportation over residency
- 4 Is the Sun setting on Murdoch's global media empire?
- 5 Major disaster: How Tories' 1992 victory sowed seeds of Brexit
- 6 Five years of Brexit summed up by Cold War Steve
- 7 The fight against the homogenisation of the British Isles
- 8 Tory MP ordered to publicly apologise for bullying parliament staff after struggling with IT
- 9 Did Donald Trump really wear his trousers backwards at Republicans' North Carolina rally?
- 10 The 40 best European TV shows to stream
'It goes right back to 2010 when the government came in with a very clear policy to reduce public spending across the board, including the National Health Service,' he said.
'I'm afraid these austerity measures did lead to the cutting back on the risk management programmes.
'Clearly this also managed to cause problems with flooding across the UK. We were much better prepared for better spending with the Environment Agency on that and equally unprepared for pandemics.
'For me, this is very upsetting because we had set this preparation process in place back in 2006.'
Asked if austerity had cost lives, he said: 'Absolutely, that is what I'm saying.'
On what the government needs to do next, Sir David said: 'Until we get testing done on a very much wider scale, we're not going to begin to manage this.'
He said there was a request from within the Department of Health in 2015 for a report into preparedness for a pandemic which was never published.
Become a Supporter
The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.