Covid claims should face scrutiny says Telford MP

Telford MP Lucy Allan says there needs to be greater scrutiny of the evidence used for Government decisions over fresh Covid restrictions.

Lucy Allan MP
Lucy Allan MP

She was speaking after Prime Minister Boris Johnson opted to bring in more stringent Covid rules, following a press conference where his chief scientific and medical officers Sir Patrick Vallance and Chris Whitty, warned the country could see 50,000 cases a day by October.

Ms Allan has said shutting down society again was "not an option", and has now raised concerns over the "worst case" scenario painted by Sir Patrick and Mr Whitty.

She said: "The people of Telford have played their part in this crisis admirably and looked out for one another since the first days of the pandemic.

"We all need confidence that decisions made which impact on our lives and livelihoods do indeed reduce risk.

"I am confident the PM has taken the right balance of decisions to date, especially given the number of factors he has had to juggle.

"There is now some appetite for greater scrutiny of the evidence upon which decisions are based. Scientific opinion will differ and opinion should not be confused with facts or evidence."

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She added: "I am keen to ensure we do not create fear by exaggerating risk. It is important when using worst-case scenarios that decision makers understand the probability of such a scenario occurring, particularly if the worst case scenario differs wildly from the actual evidence provided by other countries who are ahead of us in the virus’ trajectory.

"We need to keep the public on side whilst tackling this disease. People need to be able trust the data decision makers rely upon. Government has done an amazing job in unprecedented times under huge pressure. I know there will now be increased focus on evidence-based decision making and demonstrating that data is robust.”

Credibility

Ms Allan's comments came as the Prime Minister responded to claims from East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson that "scare tactics" used by those in power were having an "immediate impact" on high streets, the hospitality industry and the aviation sector.

Mr Johnson said people should examine what happened in the first phases of the pandemic and "be in no doubt" these things could happen again.

Speaking at Prime Minister's Questions, Mr Wilson said: "Only time will tell if the predictions made this week by the medical advisers about deaths and infections of coronavirus have any credibility or whether they are as exaggerated as the claims that there would be half a million deaths in weeks made at the beginning of the year.

"What is not in dispute, however, is the scare tactics being used and the regulatory actions taken will have an immediate impact on high streets, the hospitality industry and further devastation for the aviation industry."

Mr Johnson replied: "He makes a powerful point of scepticism about the medical forecasts.

"All I can say is that everybody should look at what's already happened in the first phases of this pandemic and be in no doubt that it is possible that such a thing could happen again.

"It's precisely to avoid that that we're taking the steps now that we are, because a stitch in time saves nine, and there'll be far more damage to the economy throughout our country if we failed to control the virus now and we were obliged to put in seriously damaging lockdown measures that really affected every business in the country."

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