On Friday Boris Johnson announced an emergency Cobra meeting would be held in response to the corona virus (COVID-19) outbreak escalating in the United Kingdom and worldwide. It is now Sunday, and still no emergency meeting has been held, displaying his clear lack of leadership qualities. Instead, the United Kingdom were simply told ‘to wash their hands’. Although this is important, and I stress for everyone to do this, it is not the radical response to the outbreak we were hoping for from our leader.

Over the weekend Boris Johnson was heavily criticised by the media as well as fellow politicians for his complete lack of leadership to put in place strategies to halt the spread of the virus and put in place suitable contingencies.

This week the World Health Organisation stopped short of declaring the virus a pandemic. In the meantime, Boris was sharing a weekend away with his partner, Carrie Symonds, at his chequers retreat. Whilst away he will have undoubtedly been contemplating how to prevent the negative reception in the British press, placing his own reputation above the health and well-being of the British Public. Boris decided, now was the perfect opportunity to announce his engagement to Symonds and that his fiancé is expecting their first child together. The announcement of his engagement and finance’s pregnancy is not what was needed to win public backing– him returning to Whitehall for an emergency meeting was.

In the time Boris Johnson has spent replacing damaging stories with positive ones, he could have concluded what Britain’s response would be to the virus. In its place, more British nationals are now being infected, increasing the chances of having our first victim die on British soil. A prominent and successful leader would not accept this and would have acted fast, to ensure his or her people are protected at all costs.

By now Boris could have released funds for NHS trusts to receive extra money to increase their ability of handling an imminent epidemic. He could be advising all shops and restaurants to provide hand gel for customers when entering and exiting the premises. Boris could be investing in more state broadcasts informing the public what to do if one suspects they may have the coronavirus. Preparing police forces and the army with the resources they need should they have to isolate a town or county. He could be determining whether it is necessary to postpone all sports and music events in affected regions. What goods we should be receiving from countries that are affected and whether they require a period of quarantine before import.

Lives are at stake unless Boris takes this more seriously. Boris needs to stop fooling around using pontificating piffle, lead the country and save lives. After proving his leadership qualities with the Yorkshire floods, I’m certain Corbyn would have actually led the country in response to COVID-19.

Davey Gray

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