London, May 7 : UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson faced tough questions from lawmakers in the House of Commons as he was mulling a “comprehensive” plan to ease the COVID-19 lockdown in the country.
Two days after the UK overtook Italy as the worst-hit European country by the novel coronavirus, Johnson on Wednesday had his first head-to-head encounter with the newly elected Labour Party leader Keir Starmer during the Prime Minister’s Questions, which gives MPs the chance to question the former, reports Xinhua news agency.
Key points that emerged included Johnson’s revelation that the government on Sunday would disclose its strategy for easing Britain out of its lockdown, and aim to step-up testing for the disease by up to 200,000 a day by the end of May.
Johnson is expected to lead cabinet meetings as well as emergency COBRA meetings to pave the way for the much anticipated Sunday announcement of the plan to ease Britain out of lockdown.
He said Sunday has been chosen because the government would have the data available to set out its plans.
Questioning the government’s strategy to tackle the pandemic, Starmer said: “When the Prime Minister returned to work a week ago Monday, he said that many people were looking at the apparent success of the Government’s approach, but yesterday we learned that, tragically, at least 29,427 people in the UK have now lost their lives to this dreadful virus.
“How did it happen?”
In response, Johnson said it was too early to draw comparisons with the data from other countries.
Chairing Wednesday’s Downing Street daily briefing, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Robert Jenrick also insisted that “it is difficult to make international comparisons with certainty today, there will be a time for that”.
In a report on Wednesday, The Daily Mail newspaper said that when and how to ease the current draconian lockdown measures have dominated Westminster for weeks as government ministers try to figure out how to get Britain back to work.
The UK currently has 202,359 coronavirus cases, with 30,150 deaths.