Former aide: Boris Johnson dismissed coronavirus as 'new swine flu'
Ex-Johnson adviser Cummings testifies before British parliament - A grab from a video shows Dominic Cummings, the former advisor to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, testifying before members of House of Commons committees of the British Parliament. British ex-government advisor Cummings has criticized Prime Minister Johnson's coronavirus policy as a catastrophic failure. (Best possible quality) - -/House Of Commons via PA Wire/dpa
Ex-Johnson adviser Cummings testifies before British parliament - A grab from a video shows Dominic Cummings, the former advisor to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, testifying before members of House of Commons committees of the British Parliament. British ex-government advisor Cummings has criticized Prime Minister Johnson's coronavirus policy as a catastrophic failure. (Best possible quality) - -/House Of Commons via PA Wire/dpa

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."