Neil Ferguson, a top scientist who was assisting the government during lockdown has had to quit his role after he himself broke the social distancing rules.
According to a report in The Telegraph, the epidemiologist and a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies allowed a married woman, who is said to be his 'lover' into his house on two occasions despite the measures preventing households from mixing.
In a statement he said:
I accept I made an error of judgement and took the wrong course of action.
I have therefore stepped back from my involvement in Sage. 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.
Ferguson is said to have been one of the key minds behind the government's lockdown strategy and furthermore said that he had shown mild symptoms of Covid-19 on 18 March and believed that he may have infected others. The Telegraph report stated that the aforementioned woman had visited Ferguson's home in London on 30 March and 8 April.
This news has caused some debate online as Ferguson's own breach of the rules he advised has now set a weird precedent for others to potentially break the rules, with many who appear to be opposed to lockdown voicing this sentiment.
Neil Ferguson said millions would die of COVID-19...
Unless govts imposed mandated lockdowns.
He's the REASON the… https://t.co/QuDUXM0eZ9
Coincidentally this story broke on the same day that the UK surpassed Italy to have the highest coronavirus death toll leaving many to bemoan the coverage of Ferguson when there are quite clearly bigger issues at play.
John Sweeney - It's very weird that the Neil Ferguson story broke in the anti-lockdown Daily Telegraph on the very… https://t.co/usFDALy1rC
As always with these type of stories, people have been trying to dig up anything they can find on Ferguson's lover, Antonia Staats, who is reportedly a 'left-wing climate activist' and despite having a unique surname probably deserves some privacy at this time. That being said her surname did inspire some excellent jokes.
There's a *lot* going on in this story but an epidemiologist having an affair with someone named Staats is a whole… https://t.co/cAY29F89bi
Ferguson's decision to leave Sage at this critical time comes just a few weeks after Scotland’s chief medical officer, Dr Catherine Calderwood, resigned after she broke lockdown rules to visit her second home.
On Tuesday, it was confirmed that the UK has now confirmed 29,427 coronavirus deaths more, the most in Europe and second only to the United States worldwide.