December 5, 2020

Boris Johnson feels he was bounced into second coronavirus lockdown, says Cabinet ally – Daily Mail

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8927413/Boris-Johnson-feels-bounced-second-coronavirus-lockdown-says-Cabinet-ally.html

Boris Johnson believes he was bounced into ordering a second national lockdown, a Cabinet ally said last night.

The Prime Minister reluctantly signed off a new lockdown in England last weekend after being warned by Government scientists that deaths could rise to 4,000 a day – four times the peak seen in April.

The decision was rushed out with minimal Cabinet consultation after news of the warning, and the PM’s reaction to it, was leaked to news organisations, including the Daily Mail.

The 4,000-a-day figure has since been widely discredited and Government scientists have been forced to correct other dire warnings used to inform the lockdown decision.

Some data last week suggested that the second wave may have levelled off or even peaked before the lockdown was introduced last Thursday.

Yesterday another 156 Covid deaths were reported across the UK, down from 162 a week earlier. 

Some 20,572 cases were recorded, a fall of 2,682 on the previous Sunday’s total of 23,254.

One Cabinet minister last night told the Daily Mail that Mr Johnson felt he had been pushed into the decision.

‘I think he is concerned that he may have been bounced into it,’ the source said. 

‘He was really, really cross about the leak because at that point a different decision might still have been made.

‘There is also concern that some of the information used to inform the decision now seems to be crumbling. 

‘In fact the figures seem to be suggesting things were getting better before the lockdown began – we are being shut down for a month when we did not need to be.’

The Prime Minister, pictured this morning, reluctantly signed off a new lockdown in England last weekend after being warned by Government scientists that deaths could rise to 4,000 a day – four times the peak seen in April

The Prime Minister, pictured this morning, reluctantly signed off a new lockdown in England last weekend after being warned by Government scientists that deaths could rise to 4,000 a day – four times the peak seen in April

The Prime Minister, pictured this morning, reluctantly signed off a new lockdown in England last weekend after being warned by Government scientists that deaths could rise to 4,000 a day – four times the peak seen in April

Some 20,572 cases were recorded, a fall of 2,682 on the previous Sunday's total of 23,254 (graph pictured)

Some 20,572 cases were recorded, a fall of 2,682 on the previous Sunday's total of 23,254 (graph pictured)

Some 20,572 cases were recorded, a fall of 2,682 on the previous Sunday’s total of 23,254 (graph pictured)

Yesterday another 156 Covid deaths were reported across the UK, down from 162 a week earlier (graph pictured)

Yesterday another 156 Covid deaths were reported across the UK, down from 162 a week earlier (graph pictured)

Yesterday another 156 Covid deaths were reported across the UK, down from 162 a week earlier (graph pictured) 

THE DATA THAT SHOWS THE SECOND PEAK HAS PASSED

TRUE DAILY INFECTIONS ARE DOWN

Promising figures published Friday by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) – behind a surveillance scheme that randomly swabs tens of thousands of people to track the size of the outbreak – suggested the country’s coronavirus outbreak had shrunk.

It estimated the number of people getting infected each day dropped 12 per cent in a week from 51,900 to 45,700 in the seven-day spell ending on October 31 – the same day Boris Johnson announced the country was heading into another economically-crippling lockdown. 

SECOND WAVE HAS ‘PASSED’ 

A study by King’s College London last week found the R-rate, which measures the speed at which the virus is spreading, had fallen to one. 

Professor Tim Spector, the scientist behind the study, said it was a ‘positive sign we have passed the peak of this second wave’, although he said the lockdown would help squeeze the virus further.

OFFICIAL NUMBERS ARE DOWN, TOO

Department of Health data yesterday showed another 20,572 Covid-19 cases were recorded, taking the total number of confirmed cases since the pandemic started to almost 1.2million.

But the number of diagnosed cases — which is always lower than the true estimated number of infections — was 2,682 lower than the previous Sunday’s figure of 23,254.  

INFECTION RATES ARE DROPPING IN MOST OF THE COUNTRY 

MailOnline’s analysis of Public Health England (PHE) statistics on Friday showed more than half of local authorities scattered across England saw their infection rates fall at the end of October. 

And rates even fell in areas that weren’t in Tier Two or Three lockdowns, suggesting national rules such as the 10pm curfew and rule of six were helping.

UK’S R RATE IS STABLE 

SAGE on Friday revealed the UK’s R rate has remained at between 1.1 and 1.3 for the second week in a row. 

It has fallen in five out of seven regions in England, including the North West, North East and the Midlands, where 10million people were already living under the toughest Tier Three curbs.

The source predicted the episode would harden the PM’s attitude against any attempt to renew the restrictions. 

‘It means a third or fourth lockdown is very unlikely,’ the source said. ‘All of this goes against his political inclinations.’

Downing Street last night denied that the PM felt he had been bounced into the lockdown.

A Government source said: ‘It is true that we were furious about the leak, but the PM is absolutely clear that the evidence showed these measures were necessary.

‘Even if you put the 4,000 figure to one side, there was plenty of other very concerning data, such as the hospitalisation figures, that made it very clear he had to act.’

But Tory MPs seized on the claim to demand an early end to the draconian restrictions. 

Tory former minister Sir Desmond Swayne told MailOnline that carrying out a U-turn should not be a problem, given recent rethinks on free school meals and other issues.

‘We’ve not shown any reluctance to just reverse decisions that we thought were wrong in the recent past,’ the MP said.

‘If we think that the wrong decision has been made then clearly it should be reversed as soon as possible. The less damage done the better. No point in hanging on for the full month just to maximise the pain.

‘Particularly when all the signs are starting to show that actually according to the data we have already turned the corner.’

Another senior MP warned that calls for a shortening would become irresistible if the trend in infections continued.

‘One thing is certain, and that’s if the decline continues the government should be looking at relaxing the restrictions earlier than December 2,’ they said. 

‘The economy cannot remain frozen like this.’ 

Fifty Tory MPs rebelled on the lockdown legislation and rebel sources believe the revolt could top 100 if there is any attempt to extend it.

The PM has publicly stated that it will ‘expire’ on December 2, with England then reverting to a system of regional restrictions.

Cases in Merseyside and the North East fell following the introduction of tough measures under the previous three-tier system.

The Office for National Statistics reported on Friday that the rate at which the virus is spreading also appeared to be slowing down. 

The ONS estimate of new daily infections fell from 51,900 to 45,700 in the week to the end of October.

A study by King’s College London last week found the R-rate, which measures the speed at which the virus is spreading, had fallen to one. 

Professor Tim Spector, the scientist behind the study, said it was a ‘positive sign we have passed the peak of this second wave’, although he said the lockdown would help squeeze the virus further.

However the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (Sage) said the virus was still growing, with the R-Rate estimated to be between 1.1 and 1.3.

n Britain’s Covid-19 response is doing more harm than good, a group of 469 doctors and academics has warned. 

In an open letter to Mr Johnson, they say the Government’s approach is ‘disproportionate’ and widespread testing is ‘exaggerating’ the scale of the risk.

They insist the term ‘second wave’ is misleading when it is normal to see an increase in illness and deaths in any given winter.

The letter, organised by campaign group UsForThem, has been signed by experts including psychology professor Ellen Townsend and economics professor David Paton, both of Nottingham University, and David Livermore, a microbiologist at the University of East Anglia.

A Government spokesman said: ‘It is completely wrong to suggest the Government is exaggerating the data. 

The restrictions have been introduced to save lives and protect the NHS. We have been guided by the advice of experts from Sage from the outset.’ 

The Office for National Statistics reported on Friday that the rate at which the virus is spreading also appeared to be slowing down. The ONS estimate of new daily infections fell from 51,900 to 45,700 in the week to the end of October

The Office for National Statistics reported on Friday that the rate at which the virus is spreading also appeared to be slowing down. The ONS estimate of new daily infections fell from 51,900 to 45,700 in the week to the end of October

The Office for National Statistics reported on Friday that the rate at which the virus is spreading also appeared to be slowing down. The ONS estimate of new daily infections fell from 51,900 to 45,700 in the week to the end of October

MailOnline's analysis of Public Health England (PHE) statistics showed more than half of local authorities scattered across England saw their infection rates fall at the end of October. And rates even fell in areas that weren't in Tier Two or Three lockdowns, suggesting national rules such as the 10pm curfew and rule of six were helping

MailOnline's analysis of Public Health England (PHE) statistics showed more than half of local authorities scattered across England saw their infection rates fall at the end of October. And rates even fell in areas that weren't in Tier Two or Three lockdowns, suggesting national rules such as the 10pm curfew and rule of six were helping

MailOnline’s analysis of Public Health England (PHE) statistics showed more than half of local authorities scattered across England saw their infection rates fall at the end of October. And rates even fell in areas that weren’t in Tier Two or Three lockdowns, suggesting national rules such as the 10pm curfew and rule of six were helping

The R rate of the coronavirus dropped in five regions of England this week - except London and the South East, where it did not change - and stayed stable at between 1.1 and 1.3 in England and the UK as a whole. Last week marked a drop from 1.2 to 1.4 the week before

The R rate of the coronavirus dropped in five regions of England this week - except London and the South East, where it did not change - and stayed stable at between 1.1 and 1.3 in England and the UK as a whole. Last week marked a drop from 1.2 to 1.4 the week before

The R rate of the coronavirus dropped in five regions of England this week – except London and the South East, where it did not change – and stayed stable at between 1.1 and 1.3 in England and the UK as a whole. Last week marked a drop from 1.2 to 1.4 the week before

A study by King's College London last week found the R-rate, which measures the speed at which the virus is spreading, had fallen to one

A study by King's College London last week found the R-rate, which measures the speed at which the virus is spreading, had fallen to one

A study by King’s College London last week found the R-rate, which measures the speed at which the virus is spreading, had fallen to one

Professor Tim Spector, the lead scientist behind the KCL study, revealed the latest R rate estimate on Twitter today, hailing it as 'good news'

Professor Tim Spector, the lead scientist behind the KCL study, revealed the latest R rate estimate on Twitter today, hailing it as 'good news'

Professor Tim Spector, the lead scientist behind the KCL study, revealed the latest R rate estimate on Twitter today, hailing it as ‘good news’

.King's College London academics argued cases were now 'plateauing' and there was a 'slight fall' in new infections across the UK last week

.King's College London academics argued cases were now 'plateauing' and there was a 'slight fall' in new infections across the UK last week

.King’s College London academics argued cases were now ‘plateauing’ and there was a ‘slight fall’ in new infections across the UK last week

The Prime Minister reluctantly signed off a new lockdown in England after being warned by Government scientists that deaths could rise to 4,000 a day (people during lockdown in London, pictured)

The Prime Minister reluctantly signed off a new lockdown in England after being warned by Government scientists that deaths could rise to 4,000 a day (people during lockdown in London, pictured)

The Prime Minister reluctantly signed off a new lockdown in England after being warned by Government scientists that deaths could rise to 4,000 a day (people during lockdown in London, pictured)

REVEALED: CHILLING GOVERNMENT GRAPH SHOWING SECOND WAVE DEATHS SOARING ABOVE MAY’S PEAK IN WEEKS ‘WAS WRONG’ AND WAS SECRETLY TONED DOWN

An official prediction that coronavirus deaths would soon pass those registered in the first wave has been quietly corrected by the government, it emerged last night, because they were too high.

The projections led to the country being hit with a second national lockdown and were shown at a Downing Street press conference last Saturday.

They claimed that England would see up to 1,500 deaths a day by early December, far higher than the peaks of deaths recorded in the first wave.

But the figures, which caused alarm across the country, have now been amended ‘after an error was found’.

The revised figures now suggest the second peak is likely to be on par with the first with the worst-case scenario at 1,010 deaths a day by December 8 – a similar figure to that seen in April.

Predictions for hospital admissions were also revised from 9,000 by early December to 6,190.

The UK Statistics Authority said the Government and devolved administrations must make clear the source of data used in public briefings and the full figures behind it. It added: ‘The use of data has not consistently been supported by transparent information being provided in a timely manner.

‘As a result, there is potential to confuse the public and undermine confidence in the statistics.

‘It is important that data are shared in a way that promotes transparency and clarity. It should be published in a clear and accessible form with appropriate explanations of context and sources. It should be made available to all at the time the information is referenced publicly.’

The watchdog added: ‘It is clear that those working on the pandemic face significant pressures. But full transparency is vital to public understanding and public confidence in statistics and those who use them.’

The slides now contain a note which says: ‘Plots on slides four and five have been amended after an error was found’

The slides now contain a note which says: ‘Plots on slides four and five have been amended after an error was found’

The slides now contain a note which says: ‘Plots on slides four and five have been amended after an error was found’

The revised figures now suggest the second peak is likely to be on par with the first with the worst-case scenario at 1,010 deaths a day by December 8

The revised figures now suggest the second peak is likely to be on par with the first with the worst-case scenario at 1,010 deaths a day by December 8

The revised figures now suggest the second peak is likely to be on par with the first with the worst-case scenario at 1,010 deaths a day by December 8