Third Wave Will "Wash Up On UK Shores"
Writing for Politics Home, John Johnston reports that the Prime Minister has said people should be "under no illusions" that a new wave of infections in Europe will impact the UK. The UK is likely to "feel the effects" of a third wave of coronavirus infections spreading in Europe, the Prime Minister has warned.
France and Italy have been forced to reintroduce lockdown restrictions following a major surge in infections, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the country was "now at the beginning of a third wave".
Speaking on Monday, Johnson told Sky News: "I've talked to our European friends repeatedly over the period. We're all facing the same pandemic. We all have the same problems.
"I think one thing that's worth stressing is that on the continent right now you can see sadly there is a third wave under way. People in this country should be under no illusions that previous experience has taught us that when a wave hits our friends, I'm afraid it washes up on our shores as well. I expect that we will feel those effects in due course," he added.
Johnson said the latest surge of the virus in neighbouring countries underlined the need to continue vaccinating people "as fast as we can".
"A vaccination campaign, developing vaccines, rolling them out, these are international projects and they require international cooperation," he continued.
Johnson's comments come amid a sluggish vaccination programme on the continent which has resulted in high numbers of people continuing to be hospitalised with the virus – with EU officials saying the recent surge is likely down to the spread of the more infectious Kent variant, first detected in the UK last September.
The UK, meanwhile, has seen a drastic reduction in the number of admissions to hospital as the vaccination programme continues at pace.
The PM said he had been "reassured" that EU leaders did not "want to see blockades" on jabs being sent to the UK following a major diplomatic row over the supply of the AstraZenca vaccine.
Johnson is expected to hold a series of one-to-one phone calls with European leaders over the coming days ahead of a crunch summit on Thursday where the bloc will discuss a potential export ban.
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has repeatedly stated that the bloc could "forbid" exports of quantities of the jab produced on the continent being sent across the Channel. Hitting back at claims that Brussels was engaging in "vaccine nationalism", she insisted that over 40 million doses had been exported from the EU to 33 countries in recent weeks, including 10 million to the UK.
© John Johnston / Politics Home
KJM Today Opinion
With ever-growing numbers of people increasingly sceptical over the performance of government (both in the UK and elsewhere) protests such as those seen in the UK last Saturday will become more and more vocal as demands rise for a return to freedom.
Disappointingly, many governments, their agencies (including healthcare providers, public and private) and most forms of media, continue to refer to COVID-19 as 'The Coronavirus'. Yet after a year of lockdowns, still they seem not to grasp that it is COVID-19 that is causing the problem. Not coronaviruses generally, all of which have shown for decades that they are inherently resistant to vaccines - which is why there is no cure or vaccine for the common cold, which can be the result of coronaviruses (as well as rhinoviruses).
All viruses and the diseases that can result from them, evolve and change over time. They always have. So why is this particular one so surprising?
The problem is that governments worldwide have dug a very deep hole for themselves and now cannot climb out of it without - they think - making themselves look unwise and foolish in the eyes of their electorates. Governments and elected representatives everywhere (MPs in the UK) have been inflexibly, rigidly and blindly rooted to one side of the argument and one only, discounting all others. Hence the fixation with lockdowns and mask-wearing. It is not unreasonable to ask; if these worked, why has COVID-19 not disappeared?
The answer is a simple one; of course lockdowns work as they prevent human contact and thus reduce transmission, at least up to a point but only up to a point. The trouble is, because viruses are what they are and because the human immune system hasn't been given a chance to recognise this one, as soon as one unlocks, obviously another 'wave' will occur. The virus is still there and hasn't gone away.
Proponents of 'Zero Covid' are either living in a fantasy world or are merely deluded. Humankind has never been able to totally eradicate most viruses and coronaviruses have proved themselves to be very hard to beat and almost impossibly so. SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that 'can' lead to COVID-19, is typical of them.
As to looking foolish and unwise, we would argue that only the foolish would stick so myopically to one course and one alone. The truly wise would be strong enough and humble enough to admit it when wrong. And what electorates - voters - can give, they can take away. Mr Johnson would do well to remind himself of this every day and heaven help any elected government if it uses COVID-19 to cancel or 'postpone' a general election when one is due.
The Prime Minister's warning of a third wave washing up on UK shores seems more like an excuse to abandon his roadmap and continue to deny the British people what they need more than anything - that to which they are entitled, that which is their birth right; freedom.