Major decisions about coronavirus (Covid-19) have been “shrouded in secrecy”, a top scientist has said. He’s called for more transparency over policies concerning the pandemic.
Paul Nurse, the director of the Francis Crick Institute, said the government should “treat the public as adults” in its communications over coronavirus. He told the BBC’s Today programme:
I think we need greater openness in the decision-making.
It sometimes seems somewhat shrouded in secrecy.
And not only that, but better communication of what’s happening.
Treat the public as adults.
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I’ll give one example. At the height of the infection I was at a select committee in April and a public health person I think it was, they may have been from the Department for Health and Social Care, was saying all the testing needed for the NHS was in place.
Yet we showed at the Francis Crick, at that time, 45% of frontline healthcare were infected and they were not being tested because capacity was inadequate.
Now, that isn’t a way to earn trust from the public.
We need openness, transparency, scrutiny, and a leadership of people taking responsibility for the decision-making, and we need it now.
Response from prime minister
The prime minister’s spokesperson said:
We have been sharing data extensively with local authorities and local public health teams in order to help inform the decisions that they are taking on dealing with outbreaks.
More broadly there has been regular publication of documents relating to Sage’s discussions and minutes of meetings.
Both the chief scientific adviser and the chief medical officer, and their deputies, have answered questions extensively in public on this, both before Parliament and in briefings with journalists.
It comes as a major incident was declared in Greater Manchester over rising coronavirus infections.
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