A day after his fiancee gave birth, Britan’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson leads a meeting of his top ministers on Thursday to discuss the easing of Britain’s lockdown amid a backdrop of rising deaths and questions over the government’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Wednesday’s figures confirmed Britain now has the second-highest official COVD-19 death toll in Europe with 26,000 over deaths, a statistic which mounts pressure on the government over its response to the outbreak and fuelled caution in lifting restrictions on motion in case that led to a second hike.
The government will also face questions if, as likely, it fails to meet a goal Health Minister Matt Hancock set of finishing up 100,000 daily tests for the virus by the end of April, with testing seen as crucial to ending the lockdown.
Johnson returned to work Monday, having recovered after being infected with the coronavirus, which left him gravely ill in intensive care at the peak of the pandemic. On Wednesday, his attention was elsewhere after his fiancee, Carrie Symonds, gave birth to the couple’s son.
He’ll delay any paternity leave to move the cabinet meeting Thursday and later is expected to front a daily media briefing for the first time since he fell sick.
Johnson warned Monday that it would be risky to relax the strictly economic and social limits imposed six weeks ago, but with rising unemployment and many firms crippled, the government is coming under pressure to define an exit strategy.