UK coronavirus news LIVE: Boris Johnson to continue to lead coronavirus response from isolation
Boris made the announcement on Twitter. In a video posted from self-isolation he said: “I want to bring you up to speed with something that’s happening today, which is that I’ve developed mild symptoms of the coronavirus – a temperature and a persistent cough, and on the advice of the chief medical officer I’ve taken a test. That has come out positive.
Boris is not symptomless. He has a temperature and a cough. Doesn’t that mean that he is unwell? And doesn’t that mean that he’s likely to start making bad decisions, or stop making decisions, precisely because he’s not well?
Conversely, if having Covid-19 has no effect on someone’s powers, then is it even a disease, with all that is entailed by dis-ease?
Who decides whether someone is sufficiently unwell that they are no longer able to do their job?
Who decides whether someone is sufficiently recovered that they are able to resume their job?
Isn’t this an important decision?
As more and more politicians and public figures test positive, are they all going to carry on working in self-isolation? Doesn’t self-isolation have any adverse effects on people’s ability to do their job? And are any of them going to need hospitalisation at some point? Will they then continue working from hospital? Or will someone else take over?
The foreign secretary and former Brexit secretary would become the acting prime minister if anything happens to Johnson during the pandemic.
Something has happened to him: he’s caught the coronavirus. So have Health Secretary Matt Hancock, and Chief Medical Officer Peter Whitty, and Prince Charles.
We might gain from this something of a measure of how bad a disease Covid-19 really is. If they all carry on working, doing their jobs normally, then Covid-19 is more or less harmless. If they’re all carted off to hospital, then Covid-19 is very harmful. If they all end up dead, then Covid-19 is extremely harmful.
So far, all concerned seem to be doing their jobs normally in isolation. So Covid-19 isn’t looking very harmful at all. But this might change.
Why is Covid-19 having so little apparent effect on Boris Johnson, but killing a thousand people a week in Italy? Perhaps part of it is that many elderly people already have conditions that put them at risk, and getting Covid-19 is enough to push them over the edge, and Boris isn’t one of these. But isn’t it also likely that Boris Johnson is receiving top rate medical care, and the rest are not? Should Boris need a respirator, he’ll have one in minutes. The rest may have to wait a few hours or days to get one. They might never get one.