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Earlier lockdown could have halved British COVID-19 toll, scientist says

Funeral of UK's youngest coronavirus victim Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab, 13, from Brixton, south London (PA file photo)

Saeed Pourreza
Press TV, London

Britain’s official COVID-19 death toll stands at over 40,000. The figure rises to over 50,000 when deaths from suspected cases are included. Now, a former member of the UK government's scientific advisory group says those numbers could have been halved if lockdown measures were introduced a week earlier.

A difference of 20,000 lives if the British government had introduced the lockdown only one week earlier. The damning testimony came from Professor Neil Ferguson, a former scientific adviser to No. 10 when the lockdown measures were introduced.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson introduced the lockdown on March 23, a decision that according to Ferguson, who resigned as government adviser last month after allegedly breaching lockdown rules, was right but too late. An argument the Prime Minister rejects.

Relative to the start of the coronavirus outbreak, care homes in Britain have seen the biggest increase in deaths over time. In the words of professor Ferguson, in hindsight, many of those lives could have been saved.

The Prime Minister says he wants a fast-track return to 'near normality' by July raising fears of a second peak among those who are describing the relaxation of the restrictions as reckless.

As the UK reported the highest COVID-19 death toll in Europe, calls for a yet-to-be launched inquiry into how those deaths happened increased. But by asking the important questions now, there may be time to save more lives.

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