Former Health Secretary Matt Hancock says he was warned 820,000 people in the UK could die from Covid two months before the country went into lockdown.
In his new diaries on the pandemic, the MP says in January 2020 he was told by England’s chief medical officer the toll was “a reasonable case scenario” if restrictions were not introduced.
Figures show more than 200,000 people with Covid have died in the UK to date.
The government has set up an inquiry into its handling of the pandemic.
In his new book, Mr Hancock says that when he mentioned the projected death toll to other cabinet ministers, their reaction was “somewhat ‘shrug shrug’ – essentially because they didn’t really believe it”.
He wrote: “I am constantly feeling that others, who aren’t focused on this every day, are weeks behind what’s going on.”
He said that 11 days later, England’s chief medical officer Sir Chris Whitty also warned transmission would be so high that “almost everyone would catch it”.
Mr Hancock wrote:…