Andy Richardson: 'The big stories are only just beginning'
Perhaps it’s time for a Greatest Hits.
With the Downing Street press conferences finished, we’ll have to go back to watching Pointless.
The final conference was headlined by the Downing Street A-Team; Boris Johnson and the two men who gave us such hope when lockdown began, the brilliant Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance.
After 92 briefings and two national addresses by the Prime Minister, there’ll be no more. Hancock’s Half Hour is scrapped – poor old Matt, and we’ll no longer see Dominic Raab telling us what a fighter Boris is, even though he owed his life to the work of nurses rather than superpowers.
There’ll be no more embarrassing clergymen from Brighton holding the Government’s feet to the fire, no more turning straight to Laura from the BBC and no more bluster as politicians mute reporters and show another slide.
The big stories, however, are only just beginning. Boris’s unlocking of UK Inc coincided with a stark warning in the British Medical Journal from the presidents of royal colleges of surgeons, nursing, physicians and GPs. As the PM gave us permission to get a short back and sides, order a flat white and book this year’s staycation, the medical profession was warning of a second wave.
Restaurateurs in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, meanwhile, were preparing to change their answering machine message to: “No, that’s only in England” while live entertainment faces imminent collapse.
Still, as Britain tries to simultaneously avoid a second wave while repairing the damaged economy, it could be worse.
World Number One tennis star Novak Djokovic continues to self-isolate after cleverly taking what Australian Nick Kyrgios called a “bone-headed decision” to host a tennis tournament without social distancing. Basketball, nightclubs and man hugs were on the agenda as The Djok did his bit to bring infection rates in Serbia and Croatia nearer to the UK’s world-class levels.
We were told that the key to ending lockdown would be the development of a contact tracing app, but as that’s failed (insert your own line here about PPE, care homes, Barnard Castle, infection rates and the like) we’re instead taking a sophisticated approach of writing down people’s names and numbers if they pop out for a pint. Second wave? Yeah, that’ll stop it.