Boris Johnson finally takes things seriously 18 months into pandemic - Alexander Brown

Watching the Downing Street press conference, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were having a fever dream, if not a breakdown.

If hearing Boris Johnson answer questions about Nicki Minaj aroused concerns this wasn’t real, the Prime Minister's measured and downbeat tone confirmed it.

Mr Johnson made a measured pitch to the public over the risks of the pandemic in winter and, as he so often does, presented two different responses.

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Plan A includes issuing test and trace, investing £5 billion into the NHS for the next six months, and keeping robust border controls.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson attends a press conference in the Downing Street Briefing Room. Picture: Richard Pohle - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Funding the NHS, tracking cases and stopping people with infectious viruses coming into the country seems like a basic requirement all-year round.

But then this is a UK Government that essentially decided saying “tough border measures” against the Delta variant was better than actually having them.

Other tools in the basic arsenal include vaccine boosters and a flu jab campaign.

The boosters are welcome, and the Prime Minister’s new found serious tone helped make the case for them.

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Plan B is less solid, with a surge in England risking a return to making members of the public wear face masks.

Mr Johnson had actually opened the event urging the public to "wear a mask in crowded settings", despite he and the majority of his MPs failing to do so in the Commons.

That this is a basic requirement in Scotland, most parts of the world, and a simple safety measure and matter of courtesy was not mentioned by the Prime Minister. Infect first, precautions later.

The second part of Plan B are the dreaded Covid passports, a political minefield sparking constant U-turns from just about everyone, Liberal Democrats aside.

Mr Johnson refused to rule them out, warning it would be worse to see places close, which was the theme of the conference.

His plans also don’t rule out another lockdown despite him previously accusing Labour of wanting them “endlessly”.

A political leader whose natural response to disaster is a a patriotic monologue about his own brilliance, this was a Prime Minister finally letting the measures speak for themselves.

But then after the conference, Minaj shared a video of the Prime Minister, and tweeted abuse towards the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg, so maybe it was all a dream after all.

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