Health minister Nadine Dorries says only ‘a crystal ball’ could have predicted need for second lockdown

Rob Merrick
·2-min read
 

A health minister is under fire after claiming only “a crystal ball” could have predicted the need for a second lockdown – despite scientists calling for it six weeks ago.

Nadine Dorries became embroiled in a Twitter spat after criticism that every government action is “at least three weeks too late”.

“If only we had a crystal ball and could actually see how many over 60s would be infected, the positivity rate, the infection rate and the subsequent lag giving us the 14-day anticipated demand on hospital beds on any particular day, three weeks in advance,” the mental health minister protested.

However, the Sage advisory group of scientists recommended – as long ago as 21 September – that a “circuit break” lockdown of 2-3 weeks was needed, to curb rising Covid-19 infections.

Alex Norris MP, a Labour health spokesman, said: “The government didn’t need a crystal ball – it just needed to listen to the scientists who warned repeatedly this would happen.

“The government ignored calls for a short, sharp two-week circuit breaker – and, as a result, we now face an extended lockdown that will damage the economy and which ordinary people will pay the price for.”

Ms Dorries claimed it was “a surprise” that Covid-19 was no spreading so quickly in over-60s, putting hospital beds capacity under such pressure.

“I have no more information than you do,” she told one critic. “Anyone can take a look at the Covid dashboard on gov.uk and plot the trajectory of the virus.”

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