Boris Johnson has once again been creative with the truth. This time it’s his handshaking claims over coronavirus. Because, it turns out, he didn’t shake hands with any patients at all. But worse than that, the PM is ultimately compromising public health.
You put your left hand in…
The UK response to Covid-19 (a new strain of coronavirus) has so far been interesting. Critics accused the PM of being slow to act in the first instance. Then, on Monday 2 March, he held a meeting of the COBRA committee. But Johnson did not fully brief the public on the government’s response until Tuesday 3 March.
But immediately people noticed a problem with one of Johnson’s claims. He said:
I was at a hospital the other night where, I think there were… actually a few coronavirus patients, and I shook hands with everybody, you’ll be pleased to know. And I continue to shake hands… People, obviously, can make up their own minds… But I think the scientific evidence is – well, I’ll hand over to the experts…
Wash your hands.
Like Captain Hook’s parrot, Johnson regurgitated:
Our judgement is wash. Washing your hands is the crucial thing.
Boris Johnson boasting about shaking hands with coronavirus patients. You could not make it up. Britain is about to learn the hard way this is not the man to lead us in a crisis.pic.twitter.com/mgg8TL8zKh
— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) March 3, 2020
Your left hand out…
The PM’s ridiculous statement didn’t go down well on Twitter:
To ensure you are doing it for long enough, try to list all of Boris Johnson's children while you wash your hands.
Remember: soap – hot water. – the bastard offspring of the Prime Minister.
— Chris Kehoe (@MrKehoe79) March 3, 2020
According to the Evening Standard this evening the advice @BorisJohnson was keen to share with the country after the Cobra meeting about COVID 19 was to wash your hands while singing Happy Birthday. It's so reassuring to have such a statesman for PM.
— Lucy Briers (@lucyjbriers) March 2, 2020
But moreover, Johnson’s handshaking claims were quickly questioned:
London Book Fair (a massive event with over 25,000 attendees) cancelled over coronavirus concerns.
Meanwhile Boris Johnson's "shaking hands with everyone" 🤦♂️ https://t.co/Ricy3vLer2
— Edwin Hayward 🦄 🗡, 🇬🇧 🔜 🇪🇺 (@uk_domain_names) March 4, 2020
Boris Johnson: “I am shaking hands. I was at a hospital the other night where I think there were coronavirus patients and I was shaking hands with everybody and I continue to shake hands.” There are no words.
— Joe Molloy (@MolloyJoe) March 3, 2020
In out, in out…
Some medical professionals warned years ago about the viral transmission risk of handshaking in healthcare settings. But according to Johnson, the Tories’ very own Corporal Jones, ‘Don’t panic!’ ‘Don’t panic!’:
We should all basically just go about our normal daily lives
The problem is, though, that Johnson’s claims about shaking hands with everyone in a hospital aren’t strictly true.
Shake it all about…
As the New European reported, it turns out the government:
later clarified that the prime minister meant NHS workers rather than actual sick patients.
It would be remiss of The Canary to call Johnson a ‘liar’. But his clever manipulation of semantics is telling. It’s clear now that Johnson knew he didn’t shake hands with any coronavirus patients. But by saying that ‘I was shaking hands with everybody’, he implied that he had.
That’s what it’s all about!
It’s not like we should be surprised by the PM’s manipulation of the truth. Because, as the Mirror neatly documented, Johnson has a history of dodgy claims; 60 by the Mirror‘s reckoning. And that’s probably an underestimate.
But it’s different with coronavirus. The PM, not only by making untrue statements but also by appearing to play down the potential severity of the situation, is putting public health at risk. His Dad’s Army approach to governing the country may on the face of it be amusing. But the reality is he’s a very ‘stupid boy’. And a dangerous one at that.
Featured image via YouTube – Sky News
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