"Hopeless" response to coronavirus has brought R number over one, former scientific adviser

6 June 2020, 10:04 | Updated: 6 June 2020, 10:05

By Seán Hickey

The government's former Chief Scientific Adviser has warned that the UK is in a second peak because of poor preparation.

As reports have shown that the R number in parts of the UK is creeping back over one, Andrew Castle spoke to Professor Sir David King, formerly the government's Chief Scientific Adviser.

Andrew was counting statements from European countries that have insisted that there won't be second lockdowns in their countries. He wanted Sir David to tell him why the British government cannot "say there will not be a second lockdown."

The former scientific adviser insisted that "the more quickly you deal with the epidemic" the quicker a country can assess how they can operate as lockdown is eased. He compared the UK to our European counterparts when telling Andrew that "we do not have a proper find, test trace isolate system in place, it is totally hopeless."

"We seem to have lost track of what the point of this is" he said in reference to the government's fixation on testing capacity. Sir David told listeners that it is pointless to wait days for a test result while going about your life potentially spreading the virus. He told Andrew that it is irresponsible to come out of lockdown until the track trace isolate system is up and running. "We can't come out of lockdown until that is in place."

Sir David King pointed out that the R rate is above one in parts of the UK
Sir David King pointed out that the R rate is above one in parts of the UK. Picture: PA

Sir David King added that "the government have brought in private sector companies to run this thing in a completely hopeless way."

He told Andrew that the UK's method of combatting the pandemic has been "so little so late" and has led to the R number rising above one in some parts of the country.

"We are in a second wave in the North West" Sir David told Andrew and pointed out that this may have been prevented should the government's response to coronavirus been faster and more comprehensive.

He argued that "until we have the find test trace isolate system in place we should have never started easing lockdown anyway" and the government could end up looking back on it's reaction to the pandemic with regret.

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