Here is the transcript of what Boris Johnson said on This Morning about the new coronavirus

10 March 2020
What was claimed

Prime Minister Boris Johnson advocated for the UK to take Covid-19 “on the chin” and allow the disease to spread through the population.

Our verdict

The Prime Minister said this was a theory on how to deal with the virus, but said it would be better if we take all the measures we can to reduce the burden on the NHS during the peak of the disease.

Many people have shared a video of Prime Minister Boris Johnson appearing on This Morning on Thursday 5 March, claiming it shows he advocates allowing the new coronavirus to spread through the population and that the country should “take it on the chin.”

This clipped video segment has been taken out of context. 

The specific exchange happened as the Prime Minister was discussing advice he has received from health experts about delaying the spread of the virus. 

Talking about efforts to delay the spread of the virus, he said that one of the theories is that the disease should be allowed to spread without taking “as many draconian measures” such as cancelling public events or closing schools. He previously in the interview referred to stopping public gatherings as “quite draconian.” 

However, he says that his view is that “it would be better if we take all the measures that we can now to stop the peak of the disease.”

The exchange is as follows: 

Philip Schofield: Is the delay essentially trying to spread this out so it doesn’t all happen at once and overwhelm the NHS, and that you can actually delay it into perhaps the summer when it’s a little bit quieter and the ordinary flu might have died down a wee bit, is that what you’re doing?

Boris Johnson: Well it’s a very, very important question, and that’s where a lot of the debate has been and one of the theories is, that perhaps you could take it on the chin, take it all in one go and allow the disease, as it were, to move through the population, without taking as many draconian measures. I think we need to strike a balance, I think it is very important, we’ve got a fantastic NHS, we will give them all the support that they need, we will make sure that they have all preparations, all the kit that they need for us to get through it. But I think it would be better if we take all the measures that we can now to stop the peak of the disease being as difficult for the NHS as it might be, I think there are things that we may be able to do.

You can watch the full interview here.

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