Inside the PM's 'haunted' inner circle battling coronavirus

The men and women who keep the country going: Inside the prime minister’s ‘haunted and exhausted’ inner circle that is battling Britain’s coronavirus epidemic

  • Boris Johnson is ‘haunted’ and knows his legacy will be defined by pandemic 
  • No 10 secretly fears coronavirus cannot be halted and fear wave during winter
  • Team believe ‘all measures necessary’ must be taken to be seen to be acting
  • Insiders allege banning mass gatherings is a marginal move but good PR 
  • PM and closest aides fear bigger number of British fatalities than overseas
  • Suspect UK health systems are in meltdown, calling it ‘Hollywood movie horror’ 
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

Boris Johnson is ‘haunted’ by the emerging coronavirus pandemic and realises his ‘premiership will be defined by the decisions he takes now’, insiders allege.

The Prime Minister is understood to be reviewing the Government’s handling of the contagion, which has claimed 35 lives and infected nearly 1,400 to date.

His team drafted emergency legislation, set to be unveiled next week, after No 10 was accused of ‘complacency’ and ‘playing roulette’ with people’s lives.

Mr Johnson has sought to invoke his idol Sir Winston Churchill in recent days by appealing to British society to pull together in a ‘national effort’. 

But on the other side of the Black Door, away from prying cameras, the Prime Minister, 55, may not be enjoying his job as much as he hoped.

Boris Johnson is said to be ‘haunted’ by the coronavirus pandemic, which is sweeping the UK 

A special report by The Sunday Times suggests that No 10 regards Covid-19 – the illness caused by the virus – as essentially unstoppable.

They ‘fear’ a second wave of infections this winter leading to more fatalities, so are keen to be taking action as public opinion demands more of the State. 

According to one Government source, this includes banning mass gatherings – secretly regarded by decision-makers as a ‘marginal’ move: ‘Stopping mass gatherings may not do much good but it has very little downside’.

One source told the newspaper: ‘Some people seem to be under the misapprehension that we can stop it. That ship has sailed globally. What we need to do is mitigate and safeguard as many people as possible.’ 

Mr Johnson’s team believes ‘all measures necessary’ should be taken to halting the spread of the bug – fearing an Italy-style fallout. 


The UK’s Chief Scientific Adviser (left) and England’s Chief Medical Officer (right) are taking lead roles in the ongoing pandemic, as the UK sinks into coronavirus hysteria

An unnamed Tory MP described the Prime Minister as a ‘Darwinian’ who fears the potential backlash at home if Covid-19 claims more UK lives than lives abroad, while another remarked: ‘The problem is that it is Tory voters who will be dying’. 

Meanwhile, sources close to Mr Johnson say the Executive is panicking that parts of the UK’s healthcare system are already in ‘meltdown’. 

Local resilience forums are reportedly begging for directives from central Government, with one Whitehall source remarking: ‘This is now a full-on Hollywood movie horror show. The local resilience forums are screaming for help.’ 

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