"The British government and its advisers had the chance to learn from what was happening in Italy. They blew it."
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.
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.
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.
Over the last 24 hours I have developed mild symptoms and tested positive for coronavirus.
I am now self-isolating, but I will continue to lead the government’s response via video-conference as we fight this virus.
— Boris Johnson #StayHomeSaveLives (@BorisJohnson) March 27, 2020