Nobel Prize winning scientist hammers government’s coronavirus response

Sir Paul Nurse, one of the UK’s leading scientists, has delivered a scathing analysis of the government’s response to coronavirus.

Speaking to the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 this morning, Nurse said that a lack of leadership has been evident throughout the crisis.


“I get a sense the UK has been rather too much on the back foot, increasingly playing catch-up, fire-fighting through successive crises,” he said.

“And the question I’m constantly asking myself is: Who is actually in charge of the decisions? Who is developing the strategy and the operation and implementation of that strategy? Is it ministers? Is it Public Health England? The National Health Service? The Office for Life Scientists, SAGE? I don’t know, but more importantly, do they know?

“It was little like pass the parcel. No clear lines of responsibility. I’m desperate for clear leadership at all levels.”

As we’re all aware, the UK has been an international exemplar of how not to respond to coronavirus.

Our country has the second highest death toll in the world. Our testing and contact tracing programme has lagged far behind the rest of the world. We imposed a lockdown too late. And now we’re trying to unlock the economy before it’s safe to do so.

Nurse is perplexed, and so are the rest of us.

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