Well Then

UK Prime Minister Who Downplayed Coronavirus Now Has It

byJon Christian
3. 27. 20

"The British government and its advisers had the chance to learn from what was happening in Italy. They blew it."

Take Two

UK prime minister Boris Johnson downplayed the coronavirus pandemic for weeks, before finally reversing course in mid-March to treat the outbreak seriously.

“The British government and its advisers had the chance to learn from what was happening in Italy,” wrote Bloomberg two days ago, in an excoriating essay. “They blew it.”

And now, in a darkly poetic stroke, Johnson says he’s caught COVID-19 himself.

Too Late

During critical weeks, as the virus started to take hold in the UK, the “bouffant and boorish” Johnson declined to advise the general public to stay home.


That finally changed about a week ago, after experts warned that it could cause hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths, with Johnson issuing new guidelines that citizens should attempt to minimize contact with one another.

Moving Forward

The 55-year-old Johnson plans to remain in self-imposed quarantine at 10 Downing Street while he gets over the bug, but he says he’s going to keep running the government — via, in his own words, “video-conference” — while isolated.

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