Boris Johnson in intensive care

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is ill with Covid-19, was transferred to intensive care on Monday evening. The 55-year-old's state of health had deteriorated, a statement said. Johnson's negligence in dealing with the coronavirus threat has put himself and his country in danger, the media fear.

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La Stampa (IT) /

The virus doesn't care about fine speeches

Boris Johnson is now paying dearly for trying to emulate Winston Churchill, says La Stampa:

“A few years ago he wrote a book entitled 'The Churchill Factor' in which he recalled the years of Second World War and spoke with envy of how Churchill united the country and led it through immense sacrifices to victory. Johnson actually considers himself to be the heir to this mentality, he has used it in speeches on the Brexit, in slogans like 'Get Brexit done'. ... Then came the coronavirus, the greatest threat to the welfare and peace of the country since the end of the war. What would Churchill have done, Boris Johnson will no doubt have asked himself. And then tried to imitate him. But he underestimated and ridiculed an enemy that doesn't care about rhetoric.”

Protagon.gr (GR) /

A political tragedy

This is a tragic development, writes Protagon:

“At this point in time it is not appropirate to conduct a debate about whether this is karma for Johnson underestimating the danger posed by the epidemic, refusing to take timely action and applying the much-discussed theory of 'herd immunity'. However, it is an ominous sign of a political tragedy of national proportions that it was he who - with a dose of cynicism - told the British to be prepared to lose loved ones. Twenty-four hours after the Queen's encouraging speech Britain is in the midst of an unprecedented health crisis and yet another political shock because never before in modern history has a British prime minister been in such a weak position.”

Ria Novosti (RU) /

A symptom of Anglo-Saxon arrogance

Ria Novosti sees Johnson's illness as a consequence of incompetence and fixation on PR:

“The ability to put on a brave face is much more pronounced in the leading nations than the ability to take correct action. ... Let us remember that before the pandemic broke out the US and the UK managed to secure the top two places in a global assessment of health security capabilities (China ranked 47th). But then came the moment of truth - and the highly civilized leaders are stealing protective masks that were sewn in backward China from each other amid battle cries and whining about piracy. Their infection numbers are surging and their oh-so carefree leaders are being taken to hospital. But their PR machines continue to grin, radiating confidence and asserting that 'everything is under control'.”

RTE News (IE) /

Wanted: deputy prime minister

Boris Johnson's absence exposes a structural weakness in the British political system, the Irish news website RTE News comments:

“Mr Johnson's incapacity will test the British political system. Officially the cabinet takes collective decisions, and the prime minster is 'first among equals', so in theory the other ministers should just get on with the job. But of course the office of prime minister has acquired a great deal of political clout down the centuries, and clearly directs the business of government. Not having a deputy prime minister, or Tánaiste, or vice president, means the system will now have to improvise - and hope the prime minister recovers soon.”