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02nd Mar 2021

Two headlines, one year apart: Has Boris Johnson learned nothing?

The race is on to find a rogue UK patient carrying the Brazilian mutation of Covid-19 - over one year on from the UK’s patient zero

Nadine Batchelor-Hunt

The race is on to find a UK patient carrying the Brazilian mutation of Covid-19 – which might sound familiar if you were reading the headlines, last year

A British Covid-19 patient carrying the highly contagious, and potentially vaccine resistant, Brazilian variant has been lost by Boris Johnson’s government.

This, along with the South African variant detected in Britain last month, joins a growing list of “variants of concern” as, until further research is completed, it’s possible they could show some resistance to the current stock of vaccines.

The government are scrambling to locate the missing patient, appealing directly to the public to help in its quest to contain the mutant strain. Déjà vu, anyone?

It is emerging that the UK’s world-class vaccine roll out programme is being put in jeopardy by a clumsy Covid border policy, add it to the growing list of government missteps where too little action is taken too late. Here goes.

At the start of the pandemic, Johnson missed several COBR meetings on the growing threat of the virus. 

As other countries locked down, Johnson resisted – even claiming he was visiting hospitals shaking Covid patients’ hands. 

For months, he ignored the WHO and resisted mass testing – while shortages in PPE, due to inadequate pandemic preparation, cost lives. 

The Track and Trace roll out was a failure, and handed billions of pounds of tax payer money to government cronies. And we’re still paying the price for it, as demonstrated in this case of the missing mutant.

In September, the government ignored SAGE’s advice to hit the breaks and introduce a circuit-breaker lockdown to try and avoid a second wave.

After the second lockdown, Johnson initially encouraged people to gather over Christmas – despite data showing the country was at the start of a deadly third wave of the virus. 

And, while the government’s vaccine roll out has been world-class, another policy implemented at the last minute – this time on Covid border checks – is risking undermining the incredible national effort to get people vaccinated.

This, by no means comprehensive, list begs the question, more than a year into the pandemic, with over 120,000 British Covid deaths, and a rogue Brazilian variant on the loose: Has Boris Johnson learned nothing? 

And that, my friends, is what’s known in the trade as a rhetorical question.