'Government not heeding warnings', Independent SAGE member blasts PM

2 February 2021, 15:30 | Updated: 2 February 2021, 15:38

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

An Independent SAGE member has warned the Government is not learning from mistakes made during the Covid pandemic.

Dr Kit Yates -  Co-Director of the Centre for Mathematical Biology at the University of Bath and author of 'The Maths of Life and Death,' has told LBC he does not think the Government is learning from the mistakes made during the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr Yates, who is also a member of Independent SAGE told LBC's Shelagh Fogarty that when Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he had done everything he could it was simply "insulting."

Speaking at a Downing Street press conference in January Boris Johnson told the public that the Government "did everything that we could to minimise suffering and minimise loss."

He said he found the PM's comments "frustrating" telling LBC he personally found it insulting to the families who have lost loved ones.

"Delaying lockdown in September for six weeks isn't doing everything you can."

Read more: Covid cases with 'mutation of concern' identified in Liverpool and Bristol

Warning "we're seeing it again with this new South African variant," Dr Yates said the Government has been warned "about the dangers of potentially importing it and keeping our borders secure, and yet we now find that we have potentially community transmission."

He told LBC he was concerned the same mistakes were going to be made again in the future and he did not feel the measures to slow the spread of the Kent variant were not great.

The conversation comes as doorstep testing gets underway in eight areas of England to find cases of Covid-19 caused by the South African variant, experts said some samples of the Kent variant are now showing the E484K mutation.

The South African and Brazilian variants of coronavirus also contain the E484K mutation, which has been shown to reduce the effectiveness of vaccines in preventing people from contracting Covid-19.

Read more: Kent coronavirus mutation: What is the E484K strain and will it impact vaccine efficiency?

Read more: South Africa variant: How door-to-door testing works and which areas will be tested

Earlier, Boris Johnson told the weekly meeting of Cabinet that plans for relaxing lockdown restrictions in England depended on conditions easing in the health service and the continuing success of the vaccination programme.