According to his former chief adviser, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson initially refused to close the borders to stop the spread of coronavirus because he thought it would be seen as “racist.”
Appearing before a parliamentary committee investigating the government’s response to the pandemic, Dominic Cummings said there was a form of “groupthink” within Johnson’s cabinet that it was “basically racist to call for closing the borders and blaming China and the whole China New Year thing.”
“And that was basically nonsense,” said Cummings, adding that it was “madness” that people from severely infected regions of the world were still arriving in the UK in March 2020.
“Fundamentally, there was no proper border policy because the Prime Minister never wanted a proper border policy,” Cummings told MPs, adding that Johnson wanted to be like the Mayor from Jaws who kept the beaches open to protect tourism.
As we highlighted at the time, the World Health Organization itself repeatedly advised countries during the early weeks of the pandemic not to impose border controls in order to avoid the “stigmatization” of Chinese people.
Numerous Democratic Party politicians in the United States, including Nancy Pelosi, also urged people to congregate in Chinatown in large numbers to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year.
Meanwhile, in Italy, the Mayor of Florence and other government officials encouraged people to “Hug a Chinese” as a stand against racism.
The hashtag campaign also led to the production of a video literally showing Italians hugging a Chinese man in the street even as the pandemic began to spread.
Italy subsequently because the most severely infected country in Europe.
But at least no one was able to call them racist.
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