UK Government Acting ‘Two Weeks’ Earlier Would Have Saved Lives, Says Senior Scientific Advisor

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The UK government has come under fire the coronavirus pandemic surges the country into the highest in Europe for confirmed COVID-19 deaths. Senior scientists have begun to point fingers at the government for not reacting swiftly enough.

A top scientific advisor to the UK government said that responder earlier to the coronavirus outbreak would have made a “big difference'” to the death rate.

While speaking to the BBC on Thursday, Sir Ian Boyd, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) said that the primary issue is whether government ministers could have acter quicker.

He claims that some lawmakers “would have loved” to have responded to the outbreak sooner but did not believe that it was feasible.

Claiming that the if authorities had acted “two weeks earlier and it would have made quite a big difference to the steepness of the curve of infection” and therefore the death rate.

When asked by host Laura Kuenssberg if there were signs earlier on, Boyd responded saying that one could “point the finger” at politicians for not following scientific advice. 

He also added that scientists could share some blame “for not actually being explicit enough”.

“But at the end of the day all these interact with public opinion as well”, he said.

Sir Ian also suggested that the government’s claim to be “guided by the science” was misleading. He explained that scientists give advice based on the evidence as they see it and ministers act as they like “within the policy context”.

​The statement comes as the UK government receives criticism over its handling of the Coronavirus pandemic in the early days of the outbreak.

On Friday morning, health directors told MPs that the UK had abandoned a South Korean style widespread testing system in March because it had been determined by the government that the pandemic was already beyond control, reaching into the 100s of thousand for confirmed cases.

Public Health England (PHE) said in February “the risk to individuals remains low” despite the outbreak in reaching over 100 deaths in China at that time.

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