ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:
The coronavirus has rocked the British authorities. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his well being secretary have examined constructive, and the U.Okay.’s chief medical officer has signs and is self-isolating. For extra, we flip to NPR’s Frank Langfitt in London.
FRANK LANGFITT, BYLINE: Hello, Ari.
SHAPIRO: I can not consider another main nation whose authorities has been hit this tough by the illness. Put it into context for us.
LANGFITT: Yeah. You already know, the political techniques, after all, are totally different, so any comparability goes to be inexact. However I’d say this could be like if President Trump and, perhaps, the pinnacle of FEMA obtained the virus and Anthony Fauci was isolating at residence with signs. Johnson – yeah, I imply, I believe that it was a fairly surprising day. Johnson says he stays in cost. He is directing the response from Downing Road utilizing video conferencing. The excellent news is all three of those British officers are reporting delicate signs. However I obtained to say, when it comes to public management, it is laborious to think about a worse state of affairs proper now.
SHAPIRO: So Boris Johnson made this announcement in a cellphone video this morning. Has he been heard from since?
LANGFITT: No. We’ve not seen something from him since that. Each he and Chris Witty – he is the chief medical officer – they have been in close to fixed presence on these each day televised press conferences. Each have been absent as we speak. As a substitute, the convention was led by Michael Gove, who runs the U.Okay.’s Cupboard Workplace. Now, keep in mind; we have been speaking about this. Johnson has come underneath plenty of criticism. Individuals really feel he moved too slowly to lockdown the U.Okay. Since then, he is been preaching social distancing, telling individuals, after all, to remain at residence. The reporters as we speak requested the plain query, which is, why weren’t the prime minister and these different officers higher protected? And one of many questions was, have been they careless or negligent? Michael Gove did not actually have a direct reply to that. This was his response.
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MICHAEL GOVE: The prime minister, succumbing to the virus, is a reminder of how significantly all of us must take the recommendation that the NHS has been giving us.
SHAPIRO: The NHS – that is the Nationwide Well being Service. It has been underfunded and understaffed for years, so what’s the federal government doing to construct up capability as circumstances of the coronavirus proceed to develop?
LANGFITT: Properly, they’re already – yeah, Ari, they’re already constructing a discipline hospital in London, in East London within the docklands. They introduced as we speak one other couple of discipline hospitals at Birmingham and Manchester. These are in conference facilities. They will begin testing entrance line well being employees. There was plenty of criticism as a result of they weren’t really doing that. Proper now, there are about 6,000 COVID-19 circumstances within the hospital. The dying toll is round 760 within the nation. However many medical doctors and nurses, Ari, are actually frightened. They discuss a tsunami of circumstances coming within the subsequent week or two, maybe. They do not have sufficient protecting masks, sufficient ventilators. And final evening, the federal government confirmed help for the well being employees, main cheers for the NHS. About eight o’clock, individuals got here out of their houses all around the nation to applaud. And that is what it seemed like in our neighborhood.
SHAPIRO: That’s NPR’s Frank Langfitt bringing us the sound of individuals supporting and cheering for his or her well being care employees in London.
LANGFITT: You are very welcome, Ari.
(SOUNDBITE OF JUZ J SONG “RESPIRATION”) Transcript offered by NPR, Copyright NPR.