In Great Britain there are new restrictions: green pass for major events and the indication to “work from home when possible”. Johnson: “Omicron spreads much faster than Delta, we need to act.” Behind the choice of the prime minister also the attempt to divert attention from the scandal of the Christmas party
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
LONDON – Boris Johnson decided to impose new restrictions in Great Britain: a response to the advancement of the variant Omicron, but also an attempt to distract public opinion from the “Christmas party scandal” that is shaking the government from its foundations in these hours. The prime minister announced the obligation to work from home whenever possible, and also the introduction, for the first time, of a form of Green Pass, albeit limited to nightclubs and large events. The government provides – then – the extension of the use of the mask to most of the closed places.
The transition to Plan B is “proportionate and responsible”, the premier said, underlining that “we must be humble with this virus”. These are measures that until yesterday evening had split the government: but then it was decided to speed up the timing of the source to the outbreak of the scandal.
For more than a week Johnson has tried – unsuccessfully – to shake it off: the Daily Mirror it had revealed that it had taken place in Downing Street in December of last year a Christmas party, at a time when anti-Covid regulations banned it.
For days ministers and spokespersons tangled in unlikely justifications, denying it was a real party and insisting that the rules were respected. But last night it emerged a sensational video where you see the Downing Street staff, in a mock press conference, joking about the party and how it could be justified in public: and this morning the image of Boris’ then spokesperson, Allegra Stratton, resumed sneering, stood out on all the front pages of the newspapers. The reactions were one of bewilderment and indignation. Johnson clumsily tried to apologize in Parliament this morning during a chaotic session and promised an internal investigation. But he insisted that no rules had been broken. However, his and the government’s credibility is in tatters.
How will Boris now impose bans on the population, when he was the first to violate them? In a country where respect for the rules, since the beginning of the pandemic, has always been entrusted to the spontaneous collaboration of citizens rather than to real controls, the risk is that this time the public opinion will respond with a shrug. But it is above all the impression of a government adrift that emerges from the events of the last few days.
Within the same conservative party there is growing disorientation in front of one chaotic or absent leadership: e Scottish nationalists have already called for Johnson’s resignation. Perhaps it is too early to talk about it: but at this moment it seems difficult to understand how Johnson can manage to get back on top.
December 8, 2021 (change December 8, 2021 | 20:17)
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