Prof Neil Ferguson has quit as a government adviser on coronavirus after admitting an “error of judgement”.
Prof Ferguson, whose advice to the prime minister led to the UK lockdown, said he regretted “undermining” the messages on social distancing.
It comes after the Daily Telegraph reported he had broken the rules aimed at stopping the spread of coronavirus.
His modelling of the virus’s transmission suggested 250,000 people could die without drastic action.
This led Prime Minister Boris Johnson to announce on 23 March that he was imposing widespread curbs on daily life.
In a statement, Prof Ferguson said: “I accept I made an error of judgement and took the wrong course of action. I have therefore stepped back from my involvement in Sage (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies).
“I acted in the belief that I was immune, having tested positive for coronavirus and completely isolated myself for almost two weeks after developing symptoms.”
“I deeply regret any undermining of the clear messages around the continued need for social distancing,” he said.
He called the government advice on social distancing “unequivocal”, adding that it was there “to protect all of us”.