Theo Usherwood's fact-check of the government's coronavirus messaging

30 April 2020, 13:55 | Updated: 30 April 2020, 14:41

Theo Usherwood has trawled through interviews with senior government ministers to fact-check whether what they are saying on their response to coronavirus is accurate.

LBC's Political Editor found an interview with Matt Hancock from Channel 4 News in which the Health Secretary insisted the UK was two weeks behind Italy on coronavirus, but because we put measures in place sooner in the curve, we would not end up in a similar situation.

But Theo pointed out: "I've been trawling through the dates that countries introduced their lockdowns. When you look at the numbers in terms of the death toll, the UK has tracked Italy pretty much two weeks behind."

Italy started their lockdown on 23rd February, when towns in northern Italy were closed off. That was a full month before the UK introduced our own lockdown. In Italy, lockdown was extended nationwide on 9th March - two weeks before ours.

"So when Matt Hancock turns around and says we acted sooner than Italy, that's not correct.

"When you look at France, they acted a week before - 17th March. Spain introduced their lockdown on 14th March, Belgium 18th March.

Theo Usherwood's fact-check with James O'Brien was fascinating
Theo Usherwood's fact-check with James O'Brien was fascinating. Picture: LBC

"At the moment we have two numbers comparing the UK and Italy. At the moment, Italy's death toll is 26,977. The UK's is 26,097.

"So we heard yesterday at Prime Minister's Questions that the government tried to shift the way they do their counting - the number of deaths per capital - per 1million people.

"Why would the government say that? Well, when you look at the numbers per capita, the UK is actually fifth behind Italy, Spain, Belgium and France."

Nick Ferrari asked Justice Secretary Robert Buckland this morning whether the UK's response had been a success, as Boris Johnson had claimed. His response: now is not the time for those questions.

Theo summed it up: "You heard it there from Robert Buckland. The British people would like the government to get on with the job, rather than answering difficult questions."

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The government insist they have been guided by the advice from scientists throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

Boris Johnson will make his return to the daily press conferences tonight after recovering from his own fight with Covid-19.