Neil Ferguson: caught beating lockdown

British leading epidemiologist Neil Ferguson resigned from Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) after media reported he broke social distancing rules.

Ferguson, who led the team at Imperial College London that advised the British government to take the national lockdown measures, told the Telegraph that he made an “error of judgement”.

He therefore stepped back from his involvement in SAGE on Tuesday.

According to the Telegraph, Ferguson allowed his friend, a married woman, to visit him at home on at least two occasions during the lockdown.

He thus broke rules which say citizens must only leave home for very limited purposes.

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Ferguson told the Telegraph: “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.”

“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,” he said.

Ferguson and his team at Imperial College London produced mathematical prediction models which claimed coronavirus could cost more than 500,000 lives in the UK without lockdown measures.

His research prompted the UK government to change its coronavirus strategy, according to British media.