Health first as Boris Johnson faces decision of his life – The Yorkshire Post says

BORIS Johnson knows that he owes his life to the NHS doctors and nurses who successfully treated him for Covid-19.

Boris Johnson is due to return to work in 10 Downing Street today for the first time since being struck down by Covid-19.

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Boris Johnson is not a one-man government; others must step up – Patrick Mercer

Now the Prime Minister, back at his desk in 10 Downing Street last night after just a fortnight of convalescence, faces the decision of his political life – when, and how, to ease the lockdown.

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A judgement call which will define his premiership, he returns to the fray at a time when the Government is facing mounting criticism on multiple fronts as the Covid-19 death toll in UK hospitals passes 20,000.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has been deputising for Boris Johnson.

Mr Johnson can count himself fortunate that public opinion remains – for now – sympathetic and also largely tolerant of the unprecedented measures in place to contain the spread of the virus.

Public health – rather than the self-interest and ‘expert’ views of Tory donors and grandees – must determine when it is safe for certain sectors of economy to return to work.

As such, it would be wrong for their privileged position to be used to bounce the Government into a decision that could, in turn, exacerbate the current crisis or lead to a second lockdown later in the year when the UK is trying to get back on its feet.

But the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which has been very low-profile so far, could – and should – be trusting firms to come up with Covid-19 contingencies so they can take account of social distancing protocols, and so on, when it is safe for them to resume operations.

A PPE protester outside St Thomas' Hospital where Boris Johnson was treated for Covid-19.

Many also need to be thinking now about arrangements to kickstart exports, and which will, frankly, be even more critical to propping up the wider economy in the short to medium term.

And to those who fear this will encourage firms to flout the lockdown, it is, in fact, in the best interests of executives and industrial leaders to put public health first. If not, they can expect a backlash like no other from staff, customers and consumers alike.

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