Johnson criticised after 'missing five Cobra meetings' at start of pandemic

Boris Johnson has faced a flurry of criticism after it was reported he did not attend five Cobra crisis meetings on the coronavirus as it spread across the world and made inroads into the UK. However, in the early days of the pandemic the prime minister was reportedly slow to respond – missing five Cobra meetings and only attending once more than 40 people had been proven to be infected in the UK, according to The Sunday Times. An acronym for Cabinet Office Briefing Room A where the assemblies are held, Cobra meetings are used to discuss pressing crises including terror attacks and are normally led by the prime minister. The report follows years of claims Mr Johnson is more comfortable in the public eye than he is with matters of policy – with suggestions going back as far as his time as mayor of London that his leadership style tends to see him delegate sooner than dig through detail. In case you develop fever, cough and difficulty in breathing, seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your healthcare provider.  Avoid direct unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces in contact with animals when visiting live markets in areas currently experiencing cases of novel coronavirus. Jonathan Ashworth MP, Labour’s shadow health secretary, said: “These reports raise serious questions about the government’s immediate response to this pandemic and whether they were too slow to act. It is now urgent that our NHS and care staff get the protective equipment they need to keep them safe.” Angela Rayner, the party’s deputy leader, said that “we need urgent action and transparency from the PM” in the wake of the report, while Liberal Democrat Layla Moran accused the government of “a costly, devastating and unforgivable catalogue of errors” during its early response to the pandemic. Asked to confirm or deny whether Mr Johnson had indeed missed the five Cobra meetings, a No 10 spokesperson said: “The government has been working day and night to battle against coronavirus, delivering a strategy designed at all times to protect our NHS and save lives. “Guided by medical and scientific expertise, we have implemented specific measures to reduce the spread of the virus at the time they will be most effective.