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.
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.
We need your help ...
The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.
Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.
We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.
Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?