Coronavirus: Boris Johnson received advice from architect on controversial Sweden approach ahead of latest measures


Boris Johnson received advice from the Swedish chief epidemiologist who devised the country’s controversial approach to the coronavirus – just days before announcing new restrictions in an attempt to tackle the spike in infections.

According to The spectator, Anders Tegnell attended a virtual discussion, moderated by No 10 alongside other scientists, in the presence of the Prime Minister and Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

On Thursday, Downing Street confirmed that Mr Johnson received the briefing on Sunday, the Prime Minister’s official spokesperson adding: “The Prime Minister polled a wide variety of scientific opinions over the weekend and that was part of this discussion. “

It comes after Mr Johnson’s new measures, including a 10 p.m. curfew in pubs, restaurants and bars, were criticized by a member of the government’s Science Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) for not going far enough.

Rather, the country has emphasized personal responsibility for social distancing and kept shops, bars and restaurants open. According to the European Center for Disease Control, Sweden, a country of 10 million people, has so far recorded 5,800 deaths linked to Covid-19.

The latest figures also show that as of September 24, Sweden had a 14-day cumulative number of cases of 36.8 per 100,000, compared to 81.8 in the UK and 28.7 in neighboring Norway.

Speaking on Wednesday, scientist Carl Heneghan – director of the Center for Evidence Based Medicine at the University of Oxford – said a “policy change” is emerging from the government with the latest restrictions set out by the Prime Minister.

Mr Heneghan, who is also said to have attended Meeting No.10, told the BBC: “If you look at some policies, what you start to see is a movement towards Sweden. When you look at the bars and restaurants, that’s the policy there – they have table service. “

And in his address to the nation earlier this week, the Prime Minister made it clear that he was still considering the prospect of a second lockdown, adding: “If people do not follow the rules that we have set, we must reserve the right to go further ”.

Pressed on the government’s approach by BBC Radio 4’s Today program and whether Mr Johnson had ‘lost confidence’ in Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty following reports, No 10 consulted Swedish virus expert Matt Hancock said: “No, on the contrary, I listened to your program yesterday… [it] included both John Edmunds and Carl Heneghan – two scientists, both of whom I assess – one saying we were doing too much and the other saying we were not doing enough.

The Health Secretary added: “So that’s what I always say about being guided by science because there is reasonable disagreement between scientists and Chris Whitty’s role as chief medical officer is to try to synthesize all this scientific advice and present what he thinks he is. the best possible scientific analysis and then we make decisions based on that advice.

“And of course, listening to voices in all fields, naturally we should.”

“We can only hope that it’s a failure, that the gap starts to narrow again. It depends on how we follow the guidelines. “


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