Question Time viewer ‘not proud’ of being British over government coronavirus response

PUBLISHED: 09:55 08 May 2020 | UPDATED: 19:37 08 May 2020

BBC Question Time viewer Margaret Collins asking panellists on Thursday why the UK's coronavirus death toll was so high

BBC Question Time viewer Margaret Collins asking panellists on Thursday why the UK's coronavirus death toll was so high

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A BBC Question Time viewer has claimed the government’s coronavirus response makes her feel ‘disappointed’ to be British during Victory in Europe (VE) Day.

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Margaret Collins asked the Question Time panellists why the UK’s Covid-19 death toll had become one of the highest in the world, saying she did not feel “particularly proud” to be British with figures like that.

Collins said that according to statistics from John Hopkins University, the UK had a higher death rate per 100,000 inhabitants than Sweden and Norway. She pointed out that the country’s toll was double that of the USA, which has one of the highest counts in the world.

She said: “According to statistics from John Hopkins University, Sweden has 28 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, Norway has four deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, Denmark has 8.7, Finland has 4.5. Even the USA has less than the UK at 21.7.

“So they’re all lower than the UK which has a nationwide lockdown, and the toll is significantly higher at 44.4 per 100,000 inhabitants.

“My question is why and how did the government let this happen when we had advance warning of their figures coming out of other countries?”

She then asked how the country could celebrate VE Day on Friday given the UK’s toll had reached over 30,000 dead from the virus, finishing with: “I don’t feel particularly proud of being British when I see figures like that.”

NHS trusts and hospitals body, NHS Providers’ chief executive Chris Hopson took her question, rebutting that it was too early to draw comparisons: “When I talk to my public health colleagues, what they say to me is be ‘very careful about making international comparisons at this point.’

“Because there are a number of different reasons as to why different countries may have different death rates.”

He added: “I quite rightly want an answer to that question given the deaths we have but the reality is we are going to have to wait to do the real detailed analysis to find out what has happened here and I think it’s dangerous to draw conclusions at this point but clearly 30,000 deaths is a real issue.”

When asked by host Fiona Bruce if she was satisfied with the panellists’ answers, Collins replied: “No”.

She added: “[I’m] just disappointed. They haven’t really answered anything.”

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