Business minister Nadhim Zahawi challenged over 'incorrect' lockdown graphs

6 November 2020, 08:42 | Updated: 6 November 2020, 08:56

By Asher McShane

Business minster Nadhim Zahawi today told LBC that people should focus on hospital admission figures, after the government quietly altered the graphs that justified putting England into a second lockdown.

The government has been forced to reissue key charts used to justify the second lockdown after admitting initial projected fatalities were overstated.

Graphs presented at the Downing Street press conference on Saturday suggested that the UK would see up to 1,500 Covid deaths a day by early December.

However Government documents show that the figures were far too high and were later "amended after an error was found".

Read more: 104 arrests at anti-lockdown protest in London

The revised forecast shows around 1,000 deaths a day by December 8 which is on a par with the peak of the pandemic in April, not worse, as was initially stated.

Challenged on this today by Nick Ferrari on LBC, Mr Zahawi said: “The models are models and we are very clear, those are different models by different groups who are looking at that.

“The people in hospital has gone from 2,600 a month ago to over 12,000 this month.

Listen & subscribe: Global Player | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify

“There are some parts of the NHS in England where people are now getting to a stage where not enough ventilator beds may be available, which is why we’ve had to make the intervention we’ve had to make.”

Mr Zahawi said he didn't feel public confidence had been damaged by the change to the graphs but added: "we can always strive to do better."

"The more data we share, the more scrutiny there is - that is a good thing in a democracy," he said.

"Not if it's wrong," Nick replied.

Sir Patrick Vallance said on Saturday that the graphs presented "a very grim picture" but questions were almost immediately raised over the data, and two of the slides shown on Saturday have since been amended.

The second graph altered showed hospital admissions. Saturday's press conference suggested daily hospital admissions could reach 9,000 in early December, but that has been cut to 6,000 in the amended slides.