A FORMER director of the World Health Organisation has accused the BBC of promoting misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic.

Professor Anthony Costello, a member of independent Sage panel of scientists and doctors, made his comments on social media today following a series of interviews broadcast on leading programmes.

He hit out at what he said were incorrect claims made on the BBC about the age of people who die from Covid, about the scale of long Covid and the affects of Covid on children. 

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon issues scathing response to 'leaked Boris Johnson WhatsApps'

"I've heard three serious examples of misinformation on BBC programmes in the past 24 hours from Professor Robert Dingwall of JCVI, Lord Sumption and Sir Charles Walker MP," wrote Costello on Twitter.

"Dingwall, social science private consultant, who sits on JCVI (why?), was asked about Long Covid. He said the evidence was just 'anecdotal', the numbers of cases causally related to Covid was 'very small' and symptoms were due to people's 'minds' and 'stress'. He is wrong.

"Lord Sumption said deaths from Covid outside highly vulnerable groups is very small, 'in the hundreds'. Prof Spiegelhalter has since said he is wrong. (In India 2.2 million people are estimated to have died from Covid). Sumption should not be invited onto BBC to mislead."

Costello added: "Sir Charles Walker MP on today's World at One said that children are "not at risk from Covid at all", and that there is scientific evidence that children are better off getting the infection than being vaccinated. None of this is true. No challenge by interviewer."

​READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon update: 13 Covid deaths recorded as cases fall but remain high

He continued: "The BBC has an editorial duty to challenge and correct statements that are false. The media also report that PM Johnson said almost all deaths from Covid in the first wave were over 80. Again Prof Spiegelhalter said this is wrong, that 40% of people were in younger age groups."

Costello is a leading paediatrician who was Professor of International Child Health and Director of the Institute for Global Health at the University College London until 2015.

From 2015 to 2018 he was director of maternal, child and adolescent health at the World Health Organization in Geneva.

The latest figures from the National Records of Scotland report that as at 30 June, 10,220 deaths have been registered in Scotland where the Covid 19 was mentioned on the death certificate.

Figures from Public Health Scotland show that for the week beginning January 18 alone this year, 32 people aged 45 to 64 and five aged 25 to 44 died after testing positive for Covid.

​READ MORE: Long Covid: The Scots team using exercise tech to urge patients to be less active

A study published last week found that while there is a low risk of a child being admitted to hospital due to Covid, around 1 in 20 of children hospitalised with Covid develop brain or nerve complications linked to the infection.

The research, published in The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health and led by the University of Liverpool, identified a wide spectrum of neurological complications in children and suggests they may be more common than in adults admitted with Covid.

The latest figures from PHS recorded that 48 children and young people under 19 had been admitted to hospital in the week leading up to July 9 after testing positive for Covid.

The number was an increase of six since the previous week, which was the highest number of patients in this age group since the start of the pandemic.

The PHS data for week ending July 9 also confirmed a rising trend among the under-40s being taken into acute care after testing positive for the infection.

Some doctors have warned of a pandemic of long Covid.

While 130,000 people in the UK have died from Covid-19 to date, it is estimated that more than one million have experienced or continue to experience ongoing symptoms from their original infection, known as long Covid.

The BBC has been approached for a comment regarding Costello's intervention.