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.”
See? 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 14day anticipated demand on hospital beds on any particular day, three weeks in advance. https://t.co/WtQI5D9T4u
— Nadine Dorries 🇬🇧#StayAlert (@NadineDorries) October 31, 2020
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.”