British PM Boris Johnson drew widespread criticism on his official return to work following his illness, after suggesting the UK’s response to the Covid-19 crisis will be the envy of “many people” around the world.
During his public address to the nation outside 10 Downing Street on Monday, Johnson ostensibly attempted to quell people’s anxieties by reeling off a number of UK ‘achievements’ concerning coronavirus statistics, tempered by an insistence that lockdown measures – which have been in place since March 23 – cannot be lifted just yet.
However, what riled many on social media was his rather boastful claim about his government’s response to the pandemic.
I know there will be many people looking now at our apparent success.
Talk about polishing a turd, Johnson – “There Will Be Many People Looking Now At Our Apparent Success” – So it’s clear, now we know what the Tories class as a success, over 20,000 dead in hospitals that weren’t overrun because they left another 20,000 to die in our communities. pic.twitter.com/EjmcTNRedX
Johnson’s outlandish assertion that the UK’s handling of the deadly virus is being admired from afar doesn’t seem, on the face of it, to be backed up by the headline figures.
Covid-19 has claimed more than 20,000 lives in hospital, according to official government data – but the true figure may be double that amount when factoring in deaths in the community, such as those in care homes.
This means the UK could be heading for the highest number of coronavirus deaths in Europe – and second only to the US in terms of fatalities worldwide – if the current trend continues.
Johnson has been widely roasted on Twitter. TV presenter Piers Morgan, who has been a prominent critic of the government’s response to the outbreak, blasted: “This is not a ‘success’, Prime Minister – apparent or otherwise.” Others suggested that, far from being a “good news story,” it was in fact “a national catastrophe.”
Boris Johnson just said ‘many people will be looking at our apparent success’ in relation to Britain & Coronavirus. Our death toll is heading to be the 2nd worst in the world. This is not a ‘success’, Prime Minister – apparent or otherwise.
The UK government’s failure to keep on top of Covid-19 cases outside of hospital meant that it was wrong to suggest their handling had proved a “success,”according to Euronews’ political editor Darren McCaffrey.
Journalist Rachel Shabi took a rather grim alternative view, arguing that other nations will be “looking in horror at a country with one of the worst death rates in the world.”
Gifs were also posted poking fun at the UK prime minister’s somewhat audacious claims.
“Many people looking at our apparent success” #BORISISBACKpic.twitter.com/DWLAc7rqDS
The UK is currently fifth in terms of coronavirus deaths with 20,732, behind only France, Spain, Italy and the US. The number of people infected nationwide, meanwhile, is approaching 153,000.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s ambitious goal of conducting at least 100,000 coronavirus tests a day by the end of the month looks like a tall order, with the current level at around 29,000.
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