Jonathan Ashworth has called on the government to publish the science behind its startegy to managing the coronavirus, or Covid-19, outbreak.
Speaking to Sky News this afternoon, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary said that the opposition understands that experts have advised that certain interventions have to be taken at particular times.
But he went on to say that the public does not understand why the government seems to be taking a different course of action to that of other European countries in response to the virus.
Ashworth said: “They [people] don’t understand why other countries around the world – including the Republic of Ireland, including France – seem to be taking more drastic action, seem to be taking some of those interventions more quickly than we are.”
Following a meeting of COBRA yesterday, the government’s approach moved from the ‘contain’ to ‘delay’ phase. But the Prime Minister held back on more stringent action, such as closing schools or banning public gatherings.
Ashworth added: “The government needs to offer people more clarity urgently. Which is why I say publish that modelling, publish that science.”
— Sky News (@SkyNews) March 13, 2020
Other nearby countries have taken more urgent action; Scotland has decided that it will cancel all indoor events and meetings with more than 500 attendees; Ireland has closed all schools, universities and colleges.
In the press conference following the COBRA meeting yesterday, the government’s science officer suggested that the true number of cases of the virus in the UK is likely between 5,000 and 10,000.