NO 10 FURY AT CHINA’S LIES
UK death toll leaps 260 in day to exceed 1,000 Virus-hit Boris warns it’ll get worse before it gets better PM’s allies: There will be ‘reckoning’ with Beijing over Covid-19
BORIS JOHNSON’S allies turned on China over the coronavirus crisis yesterday, as Britain’s death toll from the epidemic reached four figures.
Ministers and senior Downing Street officials said the Communist state now faces a ‘reckoning’ over its handling of the outbreak and risks becoming a ‘pariah state’.
They are furious over China’s campaign of misinformation, attempts to exploit the pandemic for economic gain and atrocious animal rights record.
The Prime Minister, who now faces Cabinet calls to reverse his decision to let controversial Chinese firm Huawei build large parts of Britain’s new 5G telecoms network, today warns that the epidemic is likely to worsen in the coming weeks – but that he expects the British ‘spirit’ to overcome the crisis.
In a letter to 30 million households, Mr Johnson – who was yesterday working in self-isolation in Downing Street after testing positive for the virus – says: ‘Things will get worse before they get better.’ In another dramatic day: The UK death toll soared to 1,019 – up 260
in 24 hours, including the first surgeon to die from Covid-19;
NHS medical chief Stephen Powis said ‘every one of us has a part to play’ if deaths were to be kept below 20,000;
As No 10 released pictures of Mr Johnson at work, a poll found Chancellor Rishi Sunak is the voters’ favourite to be interim Prime Minister if Mr Johnson cannot perform his duties;
Tracking by this newspaper suggested the virus sweeping Whitehall may have originated with the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier;
The first images emerged from inside London’s ExCel Centre as it is being transformed into a 4,000-bed makeshift hospital;
Deaths across Europe exceeded 20,000, with Italy suffering 10,023 fatalities and Spain seeing its biggest daily rise of 889 to reach 5,690; Global infections hit 600,000; Ministers were considering using the RAF to airlift Britons stranded abroad after Opposition pressure;
A front line NHS doctor gave a harrowing account to this newspaper about how medics are having to ‘play God’ due to equipment shortages;
Amid fear of more domestic abuse cases, Home Secretary Priti Patel warned culprits they would be ‘brought to justice’;
Police risked fresh claims of snooping by tracking motorists’ cars to check how far they have travelled;
Panic buyers provoked anger by throwing away excess food – some of it unopened;
US President Donald Trump suggested he may try to put New York in quarantine;
Wuhan, the Chinese epicentre of the crisis, partially reopened after more than two months in isolation;
The latest British victims of the epidemic to be named include the first surgeon to die from the virus. Transplant consultant Dr Adil El Tayar, 63, who died on Wednesday, is thought to have become infected while was working at a hospital in the Midlands.
His cousin, the BBC presenter Zeinab Badawi, said: ‘Adil was a stoic and an optimist and thought he would soon recover. This virus is unforgiving, indiscriminate and it can be brutal.’
Azam Khan, 95, a four-time British squash champion, was also named among the latest victims, alongside amateur DJ Danny Sharma, 38, from London, retired telecoms engineer
Pat Bewley, 79, from Suffolk, and taxi driver Spencer Kurash, 57, from Chigwell, Essex.
In his letter, which will land on doormats from Tuesday, Mr Johnson says he understands the disruption caused by the lockdown, but describes it as ‘absolutely necessary’, adding: ‘The more we all follow the rules, the fewer lives will be lost.’ And he says that it is with ‘great British spirit that we will beat coronavirus’.
Meanwhile, Business Secretary Alok Sharma announced yesterday that insolvency rules would be changed to allow firms greater flexibility as they dealt with the crisis.
He also unveiled measures to boost the supply of personal protective equipment, such as face masks and aprons, to front line NHS staff, and to allow new hand sanitisers to be available ‘in a matter of days’.
Following disputed reports that the death toll might be lower than feared, NHS medical director Stephen Powis urged people to stay locked down to defeat the virus, adding ‘now is not the time to be complacent... I cannot emphasise enough to everybody today – you have the chance to save a life.’
As the fight against coronavirus continued, there was growing resentment towards the Chinese in No 10.
One senior Government source said: ‘ Of course, the only priority now is to deal with the crisis, but everybody knows that there has to be a reckoning when all this is over.’
Writing for The Mail on Sunday, former Tory Party leader Iain Duncan Smith says: ‘For too long, nations have lamely kow-towed to China in the desperate hope of wining trade deals. But once we get clear of this terrible pandemic, it is imperative that we all rethink that relationship and put it on a much more balanced and honest basis.’
WORRY: Our health expert with sons Jack, left, and Dan – who both have fevers – and wife Clare