According to Dominic Cummings, former prime minister Boris Johnson’s top advisor, it was a “catastrophic mistake” that a group of scientists, as government advisor at the beginning of the pandemic, were able to make secret decisions about the British approach to the virus. This is what he says about the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) to a parliamentary inquiry committee. Cummings disapproves of the handling of the coronavirus, at the time by the Johnson government.
“I think there’s no doubt that the process by which SAGE reached its decisions was secret,” says Cummings.
According to him, this meant no insight and no control of the SAGE within the government and no investigation.
Johnson was suddenly told on March 14 that there was to be a lockdown, but no plan was ready. The prime minister announced a lockdown on March 23. Cummings suggests Johnson hesitated too long.
According to Cummings, the prime minister initially thought the virus was not so dangerous. He lashes out at his former employer. It was “completely insane” that Johnson was prime minister, when there were a lot of people who could have led better. Cummings acknowledges that it is also “completely insane” that he was a top advisor.
‘Declaring Lockdown for land could be traumatic’
Johnson responded immediately to Cummings ‘ statements in committee. The prime minister stressed that ” no decision on fighting the virus has been easy “and that” declaring a lockdown can be traumatic for a country. We have tried at every stage (of decision-making) to minimise the loss of human life”.
The 49 – year-old Cummings was one of the most influential conservatives and a pioneer in the Brexit referendum of 2016 and thus the country’s departure from the European Union. He was appointed prime minister’s chief advisor in the summer of 2019. Cummings soon became the most powerful advisor on Downing Street and seemed to interfere with everything. In early 2020, the minister of finance even resigned after a collision with the advisor. Cummings himself quietly disappeared from the political scene at the end of last year.