The Observer view on Boris Johnson’s lamentable plan for second-wave coronavirus | Observer editorial

Britain is condemned yet again to greater hardship by the government’s inept handling of the pandemic

On Thursday night, Britain’s restaurants and pubs emptied an hour early, to a chorus of protests from some of the inconvenienced revellers, alarm from the beleaguered hospitality industry and fury from many media commentators. The curfew is one of the additional restrictions imposed by the governments in Westminster, Wales and Scotland last week as Covid-19 infections continue to rise. Despite the concerns the move raised, on the brink of a second wave of coronavirus, the urgent question facing Britain is whether these restrictions go far and fast enough?

The question has polarised political – and, to a lesser extent, scientific – opinion. There are echoes of mid-March, when many scientists were criticising the government for being too slow to act. But we should in theory be better poised to deal with a second wave: we know more about how the disease spreads; Boris Johnson’s government has had months to set up a test, track and trace infrastructure; the NHS has had time to prepare a strategy to keep elective treatment going; mask-wearing is much more prevalent.

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