European media ridicules Boris Johnson’s coronavirus lockdown exit strategy

PUBLISHED: 17:21 12 May 2020 | UPDATED: 17:42 12 May 2020

Screen grab of Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressing the nation about coronavirus (COVID-19) from 10 Downing Street in London. PA Photo. Picture date: Sunday May 10, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: PA Video/Downing Street Pool/PA Wire

Screen grab of Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressing the nation about coronavirus (COVID-19) from 10 Downing Street in London. PA Photo. Picture date: Sunday May 10, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: PA Video/Downing Street Pool/PA Wire

Media outlets across Europe have ridiculed the government’s latest coronavirus containment plans, branding them ‘confusing’.

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European papers criticised the prime minister following his statement on Sunday evening where he presented the country with ‘road map’ out of lockdown.

Press across the Channel in France said Johnson’s latest approach showcased the difficulty his government faced now the country had the highest Covid-19 death toll in Europe.

National title Le Figaro wrote: “The health situation in the country and, undoubtedly, the challenge he went through, have incited the prime minister to caution.”

Daily paper Le Monde commented: “If Boris Johnson is showing such caution, it’s because he knows that his room for manoeuvre is extremely limited.”

They added: “Trust in Johnson’s government will also depend on its ability to deploy an effective strategy for testing and tracing the virus. Johnson barely mentioned it on Sunday. And for a reason: it is not ready.”

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The Italian media were more matter-of-fact about Johnson’s handling on the virus. Liberal chronicle La Repubblica claimed the government’s latest messaging had caused confusion in parliaments across the four nations.

“This change of tack,” they stated, “will be the latest false move by the government that first downplayed the virus, suggested herd immunity only to then take it back... and is now putting forward an unclear, difficult-to-understand message.”

Spain’s El Confidencial asked what the latest “stay alert, control the virus, and save lives” slogan meant. “What on earth does it mean to be alert?”, they penned.

Germany’s media were by far the most critical. Süddeutsche Zeitung said “all clarity had been eliminated” from government plans to tackle the virus following Johnson’s latest statement.

“Prime minister Johnson has presented a ‘roadmap’ for exiting the coronavirus crisis - and confused the British. Discontent is also growing in the cabinet and in parliament: the government has not discussed the plan in advance,” it said.

Allgemeine Zeitung journalist, Jochen Buchsteiner, commented: “Johnson is not over the hump. The harsh criticism of his exit schedule shows that the most difficult phase is still ahead of him - not least because, with new Labour leader Keir Starmer, he has a more capable opposition leader breathing down his neck than before.”

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