Covid’s First Victim
On 10 December 2019 in the Chinese City of Wuhan, Wei Guixian, a seafood merchant in the city’s Hua’nan market, first started to feel ill. Thinking she was getting a cold, she walked to a small local clinic to get some treatment and then went back to work. Eight days later, after persistent illness, she was in a very seriously condition in hospital with what is thought to be the first suspected case of Coronavirus. Several other people also associated with the market, were reported to be very ill.
On Tuesday 31 December 2019 China alerted the World Health Authority (WHO) of a new coronavirus outbreak focused in the city Wuhan. Later in the month, on the 23 January, China revealed a study into the effects of COVID-19 had shown that a third of their patients required intensive care. It was then that Wuhan and three other cities were put in lockdown and the next day this lockdown was extended to cover 30million people.
Relaxed in Mustique
Despite growing concerns around the world, Johnson took off for a private holiday on the island of Mustique from 26 December to 5 January. Apart from the issues of going missing as a crisis unfolded, a controversy arose over who paid for the £15,000 holiday and Labour demanded a formal inquiry by parliament’s watchdog.
The Cobra Absences
It wasn’t until the 24 January that the UK Government called its first emergency Cobra meeting: Boris Johnson, who, as PM, is responsible for chairing all Cobra meetings, not only missed this meeting, but went on to miss the next four Cobra meetings on 29 January, 5 February, 12 February and 18 February. Even after the NHS, on 31 January, had declared the first ever ‘Level 4 critical incident’ Johnson failed to prioritise the chairing of the three following Cobra meetings.
In the meantime the UK government declined to join the European scheme to source Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), Exeter University published study warning that Coronavirus could infect 45million people in the UK if left unchallenged and Boris Johnson missed a conference call with European leaders.