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Government adviser calls for more action on lockdown exit

Image: Marshaj2020 [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

But health secretary says ‘scientists can say what they like’ and refuses to shift lockdown messaging

Neil Ferguson, the professor at Imperial College London whose research has been key to the UK lockdown strategy, has said he has not seen evidence of a coherent strategy to exit the coronavirus-driven shutdown of the country.

“I would like to see action accelerated,” Ferguson (pictured) told the BBC. “We need to put in place an infrastructure, a command-and-control structure, a novel organisation for this.”

“I’m reminded by the fact we had a Department for Brexit for Government—that was a major national emergency, as it were—and we’re faced with something which is, at the moment, even larger than Brexit and yet I don’t see quite the same evidence for that level of organisation.”

Asked about Ferguson’s comment later on in the same radio programme, health secretary Matt Hancock said the researcher was not seeing evidence of the exit strategy because he was an adviser, not actually in the government.

“He advises government, he’s not in the government,” Hancock said, adding the government will “not be distracted” in confusing the messaging over the importance of people staying at home.

“The scientists can say what they like,” he said. “…I understand those who are calling for an end to the lockdown or some kind of exit strategy to start now, but I think it’s just too early for that.”