Mr Snow told the Standard: “If you create a physical memorial you are forcing subsequent generations to think about the lessons, to think about the loss, think about things that have been done good and bad, to learn what happens when you take your eye off the ball, to learn what happens when you get things right.”
He said Whitehall was the appropriate place because it is in the “middle of the action” and added: “It’s where the decisions have been made. It’s where decision makers walk every day.”
He said it would be a “neutral” monument, adding: “It’s not aimed at anybody but it is a permanent reminder of the loss that should haunt all public policy leaders.
“The prospect of loss, of economic dislocation, of this biological threat has been with us for generations and it will continue to be so and people shouldn’t forget that.”
Asked what type of memorial he would like to see, he said: “I think the Cenotaph’s not a bad model.
“It’s a memorial to the fallen and an admonition to leaders in every generation. It’s just a huge lump of rock they can’t ignore and nor can they ignore intellectually – what happens when you allow relations between states to break down.
“That is the cost and putting a huge chunk of rock in the middle of our most important road in our capital city is an appropriate response. In some ways I think it is a good model for this.”
The campaign, led by citizens’ rights group March for Change, is calling on the Government to formally recognise March 23 as “Covid Memorial Day” with a minute’s silence to remember the lives lost on the anniversary of the first UK-wide lockdown.
Under the proposal, wreaths would be laid at a new coronavirus memorial monument on Whitehall.
More than 50 MPs and peers have signed a letter supporting the campaign organised by Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran, who chairs the all-party parliamentary group on coronavirus.
Ms Moran said: “We will now launch our public consultation on the design of the monument, to ensure that the British public is at the centre of the memorialisation of the pandemic.”
The Prime Minister said last night: “At the right moment we will come together as a country to build a fitting and a permanent memorial to the loved ones we’ve lost and to commemorate this whole period.
“For month after month, our collective fight against coronavirus was like fighting in the dark against a callous and invisible enemy until science helped us to turn the lights on and gain the upper hand.
Members of the public can submit their ideas on the Covid Memorial Day portal here.