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20th Apr 2020

How dangerous is Boris Johnson’s coronavirus strategy?

Oli Dugmore

Did Boris prioritise the economy over public health?

In February of 2020, Boris Johnson discussed the possibility that diseases like the coronavirus could provoke a nationwide and global panic beyond “what is medically rational”, stating that at that time, “humanity needs some government somewhere that is at least willing to make the case powerfully for freedom of exchange”.

Johnson’s comments came during a speech on free trade, in which he bemoaned that it is being “choked”, and that the world risks losing the benefits of growth due to restrictions on trade. Could his sentiments partly explain why the UK was so slow to lockdown in the face of overwhelming evidence that it was necessary?

Peter Jukes is the founder of the Byline Times and Byline Festival.

We spoke to him about the British government’s strategy for dealing with coronavirus, whether Boris’ first priority was the economy or public health and whether his strategy is avoiding scrutiny.