Start-up food company All Plants has been providing boxes of greens to the grace-and-favour Downing Street flat - a sign that the prime minister’s family might be currently more concerned, like all the rest, about the immune system, and well-being of pregnant Carrie Symonds, who falls into a “vulnerable” group in light of the raging COVID-19 disease, the Daily Mail reported.
Johnson’s fiancee is understood to be currently only leaving their apartment to walk their new pup Dilyn in nearby St James's Park. On Thursday, she and the prime minister even appeared to have ditched plans to go out and celebrate Symonds' 32nd birthday.
Mother’s Day on FaceTime?
However, days later, the couple reportedly slipped out from their bunker to Chequers, the PM’s summer residence, where they were expected (at least for a few hours on Saturday) to follow Whitehall’s message to the nation - namely stay indoors, take care, and possibly use FaceTime to congratulate mothers (both Johnson’s and Symonds’ mums are over 70 years of age) on Mother’s Day.
Downing Street is also reportedly negotiating with Buckingham Palace for Johnson, whose daily working hours have purportedly extended to 20 on average, to be able to participate in video audiences with the Queen as the crunch continues, bringing about a bunch of economic ramifications.
Separately, Johnson’s aides are purportedly working to find a technical solution to holding Downing Street press conferences via video link but still allow a number of journalists to speak directly to the PM.
“The trajectory is not good", as one of the sources cited by the Daily Mail put it, arguing “this is why the government is going so much harder now”, as expert advice at morning roundtables and afternoon briefings became “increasingly dark” last week amid disputes about the best course to take to prevent an Italy-like scenario.
Raab as ’Designated Survivor’
To prevent disruptions in the government, Downing Street has allegedly drawn up a so-called “designated survivor" to dot the “i”s about who will be in charge in the event that COVID-19 affects the PM. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who is also First Secretary of State, is understood to stand in for the PM if necessity arises.
Burden of Coronavirus-Related Economic Pressure
Since five senior No. 10 officials went down with COVID-19 symptoms, Johnson’s Brexit chief David Frost and Head of Private Offices Group in Cabinet Office Helen MacNamara have been working from home. A growing number of meetings are understood to be done by video conference calls even within the Whitehall building to avoid unnecessary person-to-person contact. On top of this, some No. 10 aides have reportedly taken to sleeping on their office sofas as the pressure mounts to deal with fiscal and other economic issues brought about by the destructive pandemic.
Of all the nations in Europe, Italy is to date the worst affected by the novel coronavirus, with the country’s death toll of over 4,000 people even surpassing that of China. In Britain, the number of registered coronavirus cases stands at 5,018, per worldometers.info, with deaths amounting to 233.