"The Government used the wrong sort of scientists in Covid response," says think tank chief

13 July 2020, 10:24 | Updated: 13 July 2020, 13:11

By Fiona Jones

Former advisor to David Cameron and think tank chief Phillip Blond heavily criticised the government's overall response to the pandemic, citing one issue as having "the wrong sort of scientists."

Mr Blond branded the messaging "confused", citing the Prime Minister's statement on Friday that face masks will be mandatory and Michael Gove's statement on Sunday that they are not mandatory "but a matter of good manners."

"Britain's been behind the curve on so much of this. [There's] pretty unequivocal evidence that face masks matter, face masks stop the spread perhaps as dramatically as social distancing...and we still don't have a solid answer on that."

For deciding what to do individually, such as whether to go back to work, Mr Blond observed "we don't actually know the evidence well enough to even make an informed individual choice."

The emerging findings tell us "this virus is far more dangerous, far more persistent than we ever thought possible and in the midst of that then we've got...these confused spasmodic responses so then people, rightly, err on the side of caution."

Mr Blond continued: "We don't even have a single unified message on Covid, we don't have an effective track and trace system because...in my view we had the wrong sort of scientists believing in data because you've got to believe in data.

"And they couldn't manage or recognise the data was insufficient and the models didn't work."

LBC's Tom Swarbrick concurred that the science around face masks has changed "so much in this country", unlike other countries which have had "much more resolute" science.