A government exercise four years ago predicted that a deadly virus from Asia would arrive in the UK and leave the NHS on its knees, but it was not published because the results were “too terrifying”.
In October 2016, epidemiologists from Imperial College London told government ministers what Britain would look like after a seven-week pandemic.
The Cygnus exercise showed that the NHS is unable to cope, with a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) for doctors and nurses, an inadequate number of fans and mortal overflows.
It was conducted by the same experts responsible for modeling the nation’s coronavirus, but the results were never revealed, reports the Sunday Telegraph.
Urgent questions have now been raised as to why the administration of former health secretary Jeremy Hunt has not reacted to many of the alarming results.
In October 2016, epidemiologists from Imperial College London told government ministers what Britain would look like in seven weeks in a pandemic and revealed the NHS on its knees, the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) for the staff of the NHS (pictured) and the lack of beds
Urgent questions have now been raised as to why the administration of health secretary Jeremy Hunt (who is pictured at St George’s hospital in 2017) has not reacted to the alarming results
An article detailing Imperial’s research read: “The exercise was set for seven weeks in a serious pandemic epidemic and challenged the NHS to review its response to an overwhelmed service with reduced staff availability.”
Cygnus was based on a virus similar to the H2N2 flu, which like COVID-19 causes deadly respiratory diseases in patients.
He pretended that the hypothetical virus had reported its first cases in South East Asia two months earlier.
The infection then came to the UK a month later via a group of travelers.
It had not yet peaked in the researchers scenario, but the NHS was already “falling”, according to the document.
Cygnus has highlighted a terrifying lack of intensive care beds, fans and general NHS capacity.
It came at a time when health secretary Jeremy Hunt was cutting the beds.
The model also showed that the government’s emergency messages were not ringing out with the public, similar to the situation Boris Johnson found himself in this week.
Boris Johnson is writing to all the houses in Britain warning them that they must stay home or suffer even more devastating consequences than we are facing now
Mr. Johnson is writing to all the houses in Britain warning them that they must stay home or suffer even more devastating consequences than we face now.
Professor Neil Ferguson, the government’s chief adviser on epidemiology, warned the British yesterday that they will have to stay home for three full months to stem the spread of the virus.
Professor Neil Ferguson (pictured), the government’s main epidemiology consultant, has warned the British that they will have to stay home for three full months to stem the spread of the virus.
Yesterday the death toll in the UK reached 1,019, with over 17,000 cases reported nationwide.
Questions have been asked about why Cygnus’ exercise has never seen the light of day.
A source, at the time close to the government, claimed that the results were “too terrifying” to be made public.
They told the Telegraph: ‘It is fair to say that the SSN has been stretched beyond the breaking point [by Cygnus].
‘People might say that we have blood in our hands, but the fact is that it is always easier to manage the last outbreak than the one that comes down. Hindsight is a beautiful thing. ‘
But insiders told the newspaper that the results were subject to some aspects.
Instead of buying bulk beds and ICU fans, which some feared might be obsolete, the government focused instead on strengthening their supply chains, reports the Telegraph.
Although little can be found online, a very limited number of local authorities mention the term “Cygnus” in its emergency planning.
These include the Croydon Council’s “Pandemic Response Plan” earlier this month, the 2016 Rotherham Health Protection Annual Report and the 2018 Northamptonshire Health and Wellness Council Annual Report.
A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Assistance told MailOnline: “The coronavirus epidemic requires decisive action, at home and abroad, and the World Health Organization recognizes that the UK is one of the most prepared countries in the world for pandemic influenza.
“As expected from the public, we regularly test our pandemic plans and the lessons learned from previous exercises have enabled us to respond quickly to COVID-19.
‘We are committed to being as transparent as possible and the public is aware of the science behind the government’s response in publishing SAGE evidence.
“We are offering a science-led action plan to contain, delay, research and mitigate the epidemic and have acted quickly to contain and significantly slow the spread of the virus to save lives and support our national health system.”
Yesterday the death toll in the UK reached 1,019, with over 17,000 cases reported nationwide