Boris Johnson Thought It Was Best To Ignore COVID-19 At Start Of Pandemic

Niamh Shackleton

| Last updated 

Boris Johnson Thought It Was Best To Ignore COVID-19 At Start Of PandemicPA

It has come to light that Prime Minister Boris Johnson reportedly thought the UK should simply ‘ignore’ COVID at the beginning of the pandemic.

COVID was first reported to have arrived in the UK on January 31, 2020, but despite people being admitted to hospital with the virus, it seems Johnson and the UK government weren’t hugely concerned about it.

Just over a year later, 126,000 people in the UK have sadly died from coronavirus.

Boris JohnsonPA Images

The news of Johnson’s complacency comes as part of a BBC News report published yesterday, March 14.

A source told the news outlet that at one point early on in the pandemic, the prime minister was heard saying:

The general view was it is just hysteria. It was just like a flu. The best thing would be to ignore it.

He also allegedly repeatedly warned people that an overaction to the virus could do more harm than good.

People have since stated that there was a ‘lack of concern and energy’ by Johnson and his government, and that it was evident they had ‘no proper, ‘Emergency break-the-glass’ plan.’

Oxford-AstraZeneca Coronavirus Vaccine Approved For Use In UKPA Images

One senior minister reportedly told BBC News, ‘The biggest moment for me was when I saw those pictures of northern Italy. I thought that will be us if we don’t move.’

Johnson openly admitted that he was shaking hands with everyone at the beginning of March 2020, something a Downing Street spokesperson has now defended.

They said:

The prime minister was very clear at the time he was taking a number of precautionary steps, including frequently washing his hands. Once the social distancing advice changed, the prime minister’s approach changed.

Despite his ‘change in approach’, Johnson tested positive for the virus on March 27, 2020, just days after the country went into a national lockdown.

Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty (left) and Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance (Right) watch as Prime Minister Boris JohnsonPA Images

The BBC report found all the ministers agreed on one thing – they didn’t know enough about the virus.

One minister said, ‘You can kick yourself about the things that you wish you knew, but we just didn’t have anything in place,’ while another said, ‘It’s easy to say we should have locked down longer, gone harder, but there are more complex debates about where the national interests really lie.’

The report comes just a week before the UK marks one year since the country was put in its first lockdown.

If you’ve been affected by coronavirus and want up to date advice, visit the help page here. If you need medical help call NHS 111 or visit online.

Topics: News, Boris Johnson, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Now, Pandemic, UK


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