The owner of the Brighton Palace Pier has criticised the coronavirus lockdown on BBC television and in a Sunday Times newspaper article.
Luke Johnson said in his newspaper column: “If you are under 60 and do not suffer from an existing illness, the likelihood of your dying from covid-19 is very slim – lower than being drowned.
“It makes no sense for most of the population to be locked up, terrified by relentless scare stories and government propaganda.
“Tragically, the authorities took catastrophic advice from their gurus on the Sage advisor group and locked down the country.
“We committed economic and democratic suicide based on junk science from Imperial College London and the hypocritical Neil Ferguson, with his exaggeration of the perils.
“The politicians panicked and society has been left with the unintended consequences: collateral damage to our standard of living, our children’s education and anyone with illnesses other than covid-19.”
Mr Johnson, whose wife works in a National Health Service hospital, said that the NHS had been so well protected that “half of intensive care beds are empty while untested vulnerable patients have been decanted into care hoes – so infecting others and leading to excess deaths”.
He added: “This might not have happened had the focus been on quarantining the people truly at risk but preparation and expertise were almost entirely absent in No 10.
“These mistakes will have lasting consequences. We will lose trust in the experts who let us down.
“Almost every business and community will be poorer. There will be higher unemployment, less confidence, more debt and greater levels of insolvency.
“The concept that everything in life needs to be safe is paralysing.
“With minimal relevant evidence and no perspective, millions of people appear too scared even to leave their homes.”
Mr Johnson, who appeared on Question Time on BBC1 last Thursday (14 May), said in the Sunday Times that this behaviour was “wholly unsustainable” and “endless stories about deaths, symptoms and suchlike have made Britain a neurotic place”.
He added: “A lack of understanding in senior government and among the population as a whole of the real dangers from both the virus and the lockdown has distorted all debate and decision-making.”
Mr Johnson concluded his column by saying: “This pandemic is an unpredictable external event but our fate is in our hands.
“We must be grown up about taking calculated risks and responsible for our actions.
“The authorities must stop scaring us, give us back our freedoms and let us live fully.”
Last week flyers circulated on social media inviting people to join “mass gatherings” at noon on Saturday on Brighton beach and Bevendean Downs as well as in other parts of the country to protest about the lockdown.
There were no obvious signs of a demo in Brighton although about 30 people are reported to have gathered in Hyde Park, in London.