A senior UK government science advisor known as “professor lockdown” has reportedly resigned after breaking lockdown social distancing rules to meet his married lover.
Professor Neil Ferguson an epidemiologist at the Imperial College London, gave advice to the Prime Mnister Boris Johnson which prompted him to put Britain in lockdown. He also featured in some of the the government’s regular coronavirus briefings on TV.
He first made headlines in mid-March when an Imperial College study of which he was lead author warned that 250,000 people could die if the UK did not enforce social-distancing measures.
The Mirror reports: He sat on the government’s SAGE committee, which provides advice to ministers on their response to the pandemic.
He also sat on the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG).
The Government Office for Science confirmed he had ‘stepped back’ from both bodies.
Professor Ferguson is an infectious disease epidemiologist and said he believed he was immune to the virus, after self isolating with symptoms in March.
He leads the team that produced shock research claiming more than 500,000 people would die from the virus in the UK unless lockdown restrictions were introduced.
It’s claimed his lover travelled across London on two occasions to spend time with the expert.
He told the Telegraph: “I accept I made an error of judgement and took the wrong course of action. I have therefore stepped back from my involvement in SAGE [the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies].
“I acted in the belief that I was immune, having tested positive for coronavirus and completely isolated myself for almost two weeks after developing symptoms.”
He added: “I deeply regret any undermining of the clear messages around the continued need for social distancing to control this devastating epidemic.
“The Government guidance is unequivocal, and is there to protect all of us.”
On March 18, Professor Ferguson, 51, said he was self-isolating after developing a dry cough and fever.
Sigh. Developed a slight dry but persistent cough yesterday and self isolated even though I felt fine. Then developed high fever at 4am today. There is a lot of COVID-19 in Westminster.
— neil_ferguson (@neil_ferguson) March 18, 2020
It’s alleged one of the visits took place on March 30, less than two weeks later.
The same day, he said strict social distancing measures appear to have paid off.