British coronavirus adviser resigns after own quarantine breach

Cristina Gallardo

LONDON — A leading British expert on coronavirus who pushed for the country to go into lockdown has resigned as a government adviser after breaching the quarantine rules.

A government spokesman confirmed Tuesday that Neil Ferguson had resigned from the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), after the Telegraph reported he had received at least two visits from his married lover and therefore broken social distancing rules.

Earlier in the crisis, Ferguson, a professor from Imperial College London, had predicted that more than 500,000 Brits would die without a lockdown.

In a statement to POLITICO, Ferguson said: “I accept I made an error of judgment and took the wrong course of action. I have therefore stepped back from my involvement in Sage.”

He explained he acted in the belief he was immune to coronavirus, after having tested positive and self-isolated for almost two weeks from the moment he started displaying symptoms.

Ferguson, who was credited with persuading the government to impose the lockdown, apologized for “any undermining of the clear messages around the continued need for social distancing to control this devastating epidemic.”

He added: “The government guidance is unequivocal, and is there to protect all of us.”