June 10, 2020 / 5:07 PM / a month ago

UK PM Johnson says lockdown led by scientific evidence after timing criticised

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson outside 10 Downing Street, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), London, Britain, June 10, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville

LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday the decision on the timing of the coronavirus lockdown was made on the basis of scientific evidence and it was too early to say whether restrictions were brought in too late.

Earlier on Wednesday, Neil Ferguson, a former member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), said Britain’s death toll from COVID-19 could have been halved if lockdown had been introduced a week earlier.

“We made the decisions at the time on the guidance of SAGE, including Professor Ferguson, that we thought were right for this country,” Johnson said.

“Of course we’ve got to learn lessons, but I just think that it is at this stage premature, there’s still too much that we don’t know.”

Reporting by William James and Costas Pitas, writing by Alistair Smout; editing by Stephen Addison

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