The British prime minister initially described the coronavirus outbreak as "the new swine flu," his former chief aide has said.
During questioning with lawmakers about the government's handling of coronavirus in 2020, Dominic Cummings said Boris Johnson thought it was just a "scare story" in February last year.
At the end of that month, around 3,000 deaths after contraction of coronavirus were reported globally.
"In February, the prime minister regarded this as just a scare story, he described it as the new swine flu," Cummings said.
"The view of various officials inside Number 10 was if we have the prime minister chairing Cobra meetings and he just tells everyone 'it's swine flu, don't worry about it, I'm going to get [England's chief medical officer] Chris Whitty to inject me live on TV with coronavirus so everyone realises it’s nothing to be frightened of,' that would not help actually serious panic."