Exercise Cygnus: UK Government Exercise Justifies Covid-19 Lockdown – UK Column

Was this just an experiment to see how the public sector actors involved would react to each other, like some kind of Grand Guignol? Did the exercise take its inspiration from the memorably twisted 2012 London Olympics ceremony, in which rows of thousands of NHS patients in hospital beds, in a dark auditorium looking like a Nightingale Hospital, were danced around by strange beasts and actors wearing scrubs? The modelling of Cygnus was done by Imperial College, London, under the aegis of Neil Ferguson, who is also now doing the modelling of Covid-19. Tellingly, it is said that last month’s Coronavirus Act, the emergency legislation which underpins the lockdown, is based on his modelling in Exercise Cygnus. Ferguson’s involvement in the Coronavirus crisis does raise other questions – for further coverage see Vanessa Beeley’s article: Who controls the British Government response to Covid–19?


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