Johnson still trusts the population to avoid London closure
The Prime Minister is convinced that in 12 weeks he will have “changed the course” of the epidemic
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has baffled much of the population and the media by postponing the closure of shops in London and the confinement of the population. “I think a misunderstanding has been floating around”, he has said in his daily press conference. Media such as the ‘Financial Times’ or Sky television predicted it on Wednesday.
The Government is preparing the possibility of the closure. He has asked the ministries to analyze the consequences of the ‘lockdown’. It has raised to 20,000 the number of troops willing to reinforce other state services. But the prime minister is convinced that you can “change the course of the epidemic in 12 weeks.”
- 47% of the British population does not have a favourable impression of its Prime Minister
The recipe, for the time being, combines “compliance with the unrelenting determination of government advice and scientific progress.” It is true, Johnson admits that in London there is an irregular follow-up of his request to avoid non-essential contacts, but be encouraged to follow them. The closure of 40 metro stations helps to telework this Friday.
The Prime Minister reported that an antiviral has been started to be tested with a patient; that the effect of a vaccine created in a UK laboratory will begin to be verified within one month; and that the Government is already negotiating the purchase of hundreds of thousands of an antibody test. “It would change the game,” according to Johnson, “Because it would allow us to identify those who are cured and can return to work normally.”
Only its fans would choose Boris Johnson to head a government that has to face a pandemic. As mayor of London, he concentrated on matters that interested him and left his collaborators to resolve other issues. His first steps as prime minister were radical and absurd, but after the electoral victory, the conservative Johnson of the moderate current ‘One Nation’ has reappeared, forced or by-election.
In the present emergency, he has invited the parliamentary leaders of the opposition parties to meet with him, and his advisers have been coordinated with the autonomous governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Scottish Chief Minister Nicola Sturgeon has responded to the circumstances by cancelling her Executive’s job to hold a new referendum on independence this year.
According to an Ipsos-Mori survey, 41% of British people did not have a favourable impression of Johnson in January, and now it is 47%. The results of the study were published before the change in the Government’s strategy on the epidemic last Monday. Other polls showed, before the turn, that confidence in the Executive’s actions was greater than criticism.
Scientific advisers insist that there has been no such turn, that the measures have been taken as planned, with graduation based on the data available at any time on the evolution of the virus in the country. But, last Friday, the chief scientific adviser explained the benefits of the expansion, creating a group immunity for infected people and on Monday measures were taken, and guidelines were given to reduce the development.
The number of tests performed, about 5,000, is so low, and limited in spectrum to hospitalized people, that the models reach their conclusions with secondary data. The Government now wants to double and triple the number of tests. Also, the intensive care beds, respirators, personnel. He has been criticized for not having started efforts to obtain sufficient provisions earlier.
Johnson’s harshest critics in recent hours are radical ‘brexiters’ of the parliamentary group, which require the Prime Minister to extend his aid package to companies with more generous social subsidies. The prime minister could further anger those deputies by announcing the extension of the deadline for trade agreement negotiations with the EU. But Johnson refuses for now.
He is, after all, a prime minister who announces that we will “shelve” this virus in three months on the same day that he introduced a Coronavirus bill in Parliament that includes, among other measures, the creation of an army of volunteers to deal with the emergency.