From Italy to Australia, critics have accused a “complacent” British authorities of “massively underestimating” the gravity of the coronavirus disaster after the UK reported the highest death toll in Europe.
Whereas Rai Uno, the Italian state broadcaster’s flagship channel, gave prominent play to the information that Britain had recorded “greater than 32,000 deaths, the best whole in Europe exceeding even Italy”, the Corriere della Serra daily went a good way further.
The scenario within the UK was “like a nightmare from which you can not awake, however through which you landed due to your individual fault or stupidity”, the influential liberal-conservative paper mentioned, including that Britain appeared “a prisoner of itself”.
The nation that was “probably the most reluctant in Europe to impose a lockdown has turn out to be probably the most cautious to start out reopening”, with public opinion terrified of the results and Boris Johnson desirous to keep away from breaking Italy’s “unhappy file”.
Experts have warned against direct international comparisons of Covid-19 dying tolls, saying completely different counting strategies and plenty of different elements make such workout routines unreliable and it could take months if not years to attract agency conclusions.
Nevertheless, Beppe Severgnini, an opinion author on Corriere della Sera, mentioned it appeared clear Britain had “misplaced the benefit that destiny and Italy gave it – for instance, the primary two weeks of the outbreak in Italy when it was apparent the virus was spreading”.
The British authorities “didn’t pay sufficient consideration to what was taking place right here, whereas Germany responded very properly”, Severgnini mentioned. “The 2 nice British virtues – understatement and beauty underneath fireplace – have turned out to not be a blessing.”
He mentioned the UK was served neither by “a really weak cupboard” nor Johnson’s character: “He’s not Trump, although there’s something related of their approaches, however in this type of problem it is advisable actually work exhausting on particulars. He’s not a particulars particular person.”
Past Italy – the place the Covid-19 dying toll, which doesn’t embody suspected circumstances, is simply over 29,000 – German commentators have been additionally vital. Britain has emerged as Europe’s “drawback youngster” of the Covid-19 disaster, the DPA information company’s London correspondent Christoph Meyer wrote.
“Just a few weeks in the past, Britain had the repute of a rustic through which the coronavirus was solely spreading cautiously,” Meyer wrote in an opinion piece printed in a number of newspapers in Germany and Austria.
“Politicians have been already slapping one another on their backs and praising the well being system, which was higher ready for the pandemic than every other nation on this planet. However that has rapidly revealed itself to be a fallacy … There are actually many indicators that the federal government in London massively underestimated the pandemic.”
In a chunk this week drawing on the British prime minister’s frequent deployment of classical allusions, the London correspondent of Spain’s left-leaning El País queried strategies that the prime minister was some latter-day Odysseus.
“The conservative press tries to current Johnson as a person of reborn knowledge”, whose expertise of Covid-19 had led him to “lash himself to the mast to withstand the siren calls” of these demanding the lockdown be lifted quickly, wrote Rafa de Miguel.
“In reality, it’s removed from clear whether or not such willpower is the fruit of cautious calculation – or the results of merely closing one’s eyes when there’s no different choice.”
Officers in Greece, which has been widely praised for its handling of the pandemic, have watched London’s dealing with of the disaster with disbelief, with epidemiologists additionally criticising the UK authorities’s preliminary embrace of a “herd immunity” coverage.
The progressive each day Ethnos described Johnson as “extra harmful than coronavirus”, saying one of many disaster’s best tragedies was that “incompetent leaders” similar to Johnson and Donald Trump have been “on the helm at a time of such emergency”.
Earlier than altering tack, Johnson “had gone out and basically requested Britons … to simply accept dying”, wrote the columnist Giorgos Skafidas.
Irish commentators additionally expressed dismay on the UK’s file. “Ministers of slim expertise have bumbled by means of each day briefings and now massive business-Conservative donors are impatient to reverse a shutdown so opposite to Brexiteer desires,” Fionnuala O’Connor wrote within the broadly nationalist Irish News.
“Boris Johnson wants all his showman’s methods now to promote the phasing out of a lockdown which was lower than efficient, no less than partly, due to his cussed libertarianism.”
Exterior Europe, criticism has been strongest in Australia and New Zealand, each of which imposed strict, early lockdowns and have contained their outbreaks. Scott Morrison, the Australian prime minister, said no country that had pursued herd immunity had achieved it, describing the technique as a “dying sentence”.
David Hunter, an Australian-educated professor of epidemiology and medication at Oxford College, told the conservative Sydney Morning Herald the British response was “not a mannequin to observe. It has one of many worst epidemics in Europe and the world … Some points of the response have virtually definitely contributed to the excessive mortality”.
Hunter notably criticised the British determination – in distinction to Australia and New Zealand – to not shut its borders early. Mike Rann, a former Australian excessive commissioner to Britain, informed the paper Britain had “dealt with the earliest phases negligently”, lamenting “a shambles of blended messaging, poor organisation and a complacent angle that what was taking place in Italy wouldn’t occur right here”.
Further reporting by Angela Giuffrida, Philip Oltermann, Sam Jones, Helena Smith and Rory Carroll
— to www.theguardian.com