Boris Johnson clashes with Andrew Marr in coronavirus debate
Boris Johnson slapped down Marr for questioning him on why the Government did not put the country into a lockdown sooner. The Prime Minister said a new variant of the disease could not be foreseen. The BBC host asked: “In July your Government commissioned a report about what was going to happen in this winter. Keir Starmer said to you, have you read it? And you hadn’t read it. Have you read it now?”
Mr Johnson said: “Let’s get something clear. This Government has taken every reasonable and possible step to prepare this country for the consequences of winter.
“What we could not have foreseen was the arrival of a new variant of the vaccine which was spreading between 50 to 70 percent faster.”
Mr Marr added: “Except this report, you perhaps should have read in July, does talk directly about the danger of mutation and describes in extraordinary detail exactly what is happening now.”
The Prime Minister interjected: “Which is exactly why we took the action that we did.
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“The Government has done everything we can to urge people not to allow community transmission.”
Mr Marr continued: “On September 31, SAGE talked about a national lockdown, a circuit breaker, and you waited for seven weeks.”
Mr Johnson hit back as he branded it “absolute nonsense”.
He noted: “You could have spent from March onwards, you could have spent the entire year in lockdown.
“You could have closed everything.”
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He said that circuit breakers “buy you some temporary respite” from the spread of COVID-19.
Mr Johnson signalled current anti-Covid measures were likely to get tougher.
He said: “What we are doing now is using the tiering system, which is a very tough system… and, alas, probably about to get tougher to keep things under control.
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“But, we will review it.”
He added: “And we have the prospect of vaccines coming down the track in their tens of millions.
“And that, I think, is something that should keep people going in what I predicted, back on your show in in October, will be a very bumpy period right now.
“It is bumpy and it’s going to be bumpy.”
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