Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has criticised Prime Minister Boris Johnson for enforcing a lockdown for three weeks to halt the spread of coronavirus while the UK’s borders are still open to foreign travellers.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday night that the UK would go into enforced lockdown after reports of people ignoring the scientific advice to self-isolate to stop the spread of coronavirus.
The measures mean that more than two people who do not live together will not be able to congregate; Britons will only be allowed to leave the house for essential shopping and one form of exercise a day like going for a walk; and shops selling non-essential goods will close. These measures will be in place for at least three weeks and the police have to power to enforce the rules if people do not follow them.
After Mr Johnson made the statement, Mr Farage reacted by saying: “So we are to be locked down — and a new testing regime will begin. Will the planes keep coming from Milan, Tehran, and Beijing? I expect so. It’s all too late.”
So we are to be locked down — and a new testing regime will begin.
Will the planes keep coming from Milan, Tehran and Beijing? I expect so.
It’s all too late.
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) March 23, 2020
Speaking earlier in the day, the Brexiteer criticised the government’s lack of “joined-up thinking” and for failing to learn the lessons of Italy, the viral epicentre for Europe.
Mr Farage said: “On the very same day that Lombardy was closed down, 17 flights came into the United Kingdom from Milan’s Malpensa airport…. [with] not a single person being temperature checked.”
“We hear this remarkable story coming from France that the reason Boris finally shut down pubs and restaurants is that President Macron said that if he didn’t do it France would effectively put a blockade on us,” he continued, condemning the Tories for showing a lack of leadership.
“This is not a country where people obey government orders unless they respect the government and the actions that it’s taking. I want to pose this question: If we’re told… that we have to lock down, how can we respect that when just yesterday aeroplanes were still coming in from Beijing, Tehran, from Milan? And people are being told they should ‘self-isolate’.” he added.
The Brexit Party leader was not the only figure critical of Johnson’s announcement with author, journalist, and broadcaster Peter Hitchens calling the plans “ridiculous and sinister”.
“This action by Alexander [Boris] Johnson is simultaneously ridiculous and sinister. I do hope that all those who sneered when I expressed concern about a coming attack on liberty will now see what it was I meant,” Mr Hitchens wrote.
“I’m partly mocking Alexander Johnson’s ridiculous, sinister government because I’m worried that tomorrow night he’ll come on TV to tell me I am not allowed to mock the government. Unthinkable you say? How unthinkable was national house arrest a week ago?” he added.
I'm partly mocking Alexander Johnson's ridiculous, sinister government because I'm worried that tomorrow night he'll come on TV to tell me I am not allowed to mock the government. Unthinkable you say? How unthinkable was national house arrest a week ago?
— Peter Hitchens (@ClarkeMicah) March 23, 2020