Johnson’s piece-to-camera avoids scrutiny and is full of gaps
Boris Johnson has announced a ‘lock-down’ of the UK because of the coronavirus pandemic, to include:
- the closure of all shops selling non-essential goods, including clothing and electronics retailers
- a ban on public gatherings of more than two people who are not from the same household
- closure of libraries, playgrounds, outdoor gyms and places of worship
- limiting individuals to a single form of outdoor exercise per day
- a ban on travel except for work, shopping or medical reasons (for self or others) – and grocery shopping should be done online if possible
- a ban on weddings and baptisms – but not funerals
- police powers to penalise infringements
- an option to relax the restrictions in three weeks ‘if the evidence allows’
But Johnson’s announcement has raised all kinds of questions with no information to answer them. People are already asking:
- what about foodbanks and other essential charities – will volunteers be allowed to travel to those as work?
- how will police enforce when their numbers have been cut so drastically in the past decade of Tory government?
- how will police enforce what they can’t check, eg. if someone claims to be out for shopping or exercise?
- if people are allowed to go to the park but not to gather, how far apart must they be to avoid being a ‘gathering’?
- if weddings are banned, will the inevitable costs of cancellation and of guests’ travel/accommodation be repaid by the government?
- if clothing shops are not considered essential and the lockdown continues for long, how will people replace worn out clothes, shoes etc?
- how can people shop for groceries online when many retailers are so overloaded their sites can’t cope and delivery slots are almost impossible to obtain?
- given the virus has an incubation period of 14 days, causes few or no symptoms in some of those infected and the government is still barely testing suspected sufferers, what evidence will be considered grounds for relaxing them in 3 weeks?
- what changed between last night and tonight for these measures to become necessary if they weren’t yesterday?
- why are testing kits only now on order when the government has known for weeks that this was coming?
Johnson has been slow to respond and unable to lead – and even after so much time to prepare for this lockdown, he has announced it in a way that has caused confusion and failed to inspire confidence.
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