Coronavirus: ‘Trust the government’, says Lord Falconer

Friday, March 13, 2020

Labour peer Lord Charlie Falconer has called on the public to “trust the government” on its coronavirus response, as opinion among politicians and experts continues to vary.

Boris Johnson warned last night that the pandemic was “the worst public health crisis for a generation” but has ruled out closing schools and banning mass gatherings at this stage.

The latest advice is that anyone with symptoms – however mild – such as a high temperature of a continuous cough must now stay at home for seven days.

School trips abroad should be stopped and people over 70 with serious medical conditions should not go on cruises, according to the government.

The Prime Minister said tougher measures may be “coming down the track”.

“It is going to spread further and I must level with you, I must level with the British public: many more families are going to lose loved ones before their time.”

Lord Falconer said he has “faith” in the UK’s approach.

“They the politicians are acting on the basis of the best advice that they are getting and they are taking the public into their confidence as to the difficulty of the decisions and the reasoning they are operating on,” he told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer.

The former Justice Secretary added: “The key thing I think for the public is that we trust the government that they are trying to do their best, rather than think that the government aren’t coming clean with us.”

Experts have also largely welcomed new measures to protect the public from Covid-19 but former health secretary Jeremy Hunt has criticised the approach as not going far enough.

While some medical professionals said the UK’s plans were “balanced” and “sensible”, another said they did not go far enough – and Mr Hunt agreed.

Asked about the decision not to cancel large gatherings yet, Mr Hunt told BBC Newsnight: “I think it is surprising and concerning that we're not doing any of it at all when we have just four weeks before we get to the stage that Italy is at.”

Italy, which is effectively in total shutdown, has seen its death toll surpass 1,000.

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