The leader of the Liberal Democrats has said that arrogance and incompetence could be reasons that the UK has not learned from South Korea to move fast on Covid-19 restrictions.
Sir Ed Davey’s London constituency has a large Korean population, and he recently met the South Korean ambassador to the UK, Enna Park, who told him the speed of reaction was the critical difference between the two countries’ responses.
South Korea reported its first Covid-19 case on 20 January and has since reported 441 deaths, which is nearly 99% less than the UK total of 43,646.
And last week, Davey came out in support for a national circuit breaker lockdown.
He said: “You’ve got to go fast. Not only would a circuit breaker be much less disruptive to people, but you have a good chance of controlling the virus.
“When I’m talking about reacting quickly, South Korea got test kits produced on an industrial scale back in February.
“In the UK we started thinking about testing sometime around April, May. Hopeless!”
Davey, who was the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change from 2012 to 2015, also highlighted that the Prime Minister missed COBRA meetings about the virus.
He said: “I’ve been in COBRA meetings and they only work when the Prime Minister is there to kick them off, and then a senior minister takes absolute charge with the Prime Minister’s authority; the Prime Minister did not turn up for the first five or six.
“Why haven’t we learned from South Korea? I don’t know. It could be arrogance or incompetence.”
Davey was in Twickenham on Friday, as part of a listening tour of the UK to understand where the Liberal Democrats have gone wrong in the last three elections.
He claimed that people have been far more cautious about the virus than those in Westminster think, and that they want to get it sorted.
Davey echoed the thoughts of his party’s new London Mayor candidate, Luisa Porritt, who last week labelled the Tier 2 lockdown a ‘halfway house’ while calling for a circuit breaker.
Featured image credit: Liberal Democrats