‘Cut out cheeseburgers' urges Boris Johnson as he says Trump will be 'fine'

Boris Johnson has warned of the dangers of obesity in tackling coronavirus, as he said he believed the US President would be “fine” after testing positive for Covid-19.
A masked Boris Johnson said people should cut down on eating cheeseburgers.A masked Boris Johnson said people should cut down on eating cheeseburgers.
A masked Boris Johnson said people should cut down on eating cheeseburgers.

The Prime Minister, who said he took responsibility “for everything” since the outbreak of the pandemic also warned of a “tough winter” ahead in the battle against coronavirus, but said he was working “flat-out” to make Christmas as normal as possible.

Appearing on the BBC’S Andrew Marr Show, Mr Johnson was asked about Donald Trump’s admission to hospital, after testing positive for coronavirus –months after he too had to be hospitalised with the virus.

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The Prime Minister said he was sure Donald Trump would be “fine” but pointed out the problems that obesity can have when fighting Covid, quickly insisting he was not commenting on the US President's weight.

“I'm sure that President Trump is going to be fine, he has got the best possible care,” he said. "The most important thing to do is follow his doctors' advice.”

Asked if that should mean fewer cheeseburgers, Mr Johnson added: “This is an important point, obesity - I'm not making any comment on President Trump – but obesity, since you mention cheeseburgers, is one of the problems that this country needs to address. Not just because it threatens all our health but in the long term we need to tackle it to reduce the pressures on the NHS."

Mr Johnson also rejected any suggestion he was suffering from “long Covid”, when those who had had the virus still find themselves exhausted months after. “Not in my case,” he said. “I am fitter than several butchers’ dogs.

"The issue is that when I alas got this wretched thing I was too fat. This is a teachable moment for our great country. Alas as a nation we are slightly too fat. We are fatter than virtually anybody else in Europe, apart from the Maltese for some reason, and we need to think about this – though I don't wish to cast any aspersions on my Maltese friends.”

The Prime Minister admitted there would still be “bumpy” months ahead, though he hoped the situation would be “radically different” by spring. He said people should behave “fearlessly” but with “common sense”.

More than a third of people in the UK currently live under some form of extra restriction following an increase in coronavirus cases, and asked if this posed a major threat to families' Christmas plans, he said: “If you ask me 'do I think things can be significantly different by Christmas?' Yes I do, and we're working flat-out to achieve that.

"But be in no doubt that it is still very possible that there are bumpy, bumpy months ahead. This could be a very tough winter for all of us - we've got to face that fact.”

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He added: "I'm a freedom-loving Tory... I don't want to have to impose measures like this, are you crazy? This is the last thing we want to do. But I also have to save life. And that's our priority."

Mr Johnson said that while new treatments were now available, he did not want to raise hopes of a quick vaccine. “We will find all sorts of ways, I'm absolutely sure, particularly through mass testing programmes, of changing the way that we tackle this virus.

"It's possible that we will make significant progress on the vaccine this year. I went to see the scientists at AstraZeneca in Oxford and those teams and they seem to be doing fantastically well. But I don't want to get people's hopes up on the vaccine unnecessarily because I think there is a chance but it is not certain.”

He added: "I take full responsibility for everything that's happened since the pandemic began of course, and the Government is trying as I say throughout this to strike a balance. We had to go into lockdown in March and April and that was effective in bringing the virus down.

“I think it was right to reopen the economy. I think if we hadn't done that… if we hadn't got things moving again in the summer, I mean we would be looking at many more hundreds of thousands of jobs lost.”

Asked if the government's Eat Out To Help Out scheme had helped spread the virus, he said: "I think that it is important now, irrespective of whether Eat Out To Help Out you know, what the balance of there was, it unquestionably helped to protect many... there are two million jobs at least in the hospitality sector.

“It was very important to keep those jobs going. Now, if it, insofar as that scheme may have helped to spread the virus, then obviously we need to counteract that and we need to counteract that with the discipline and the measures that we're proposing.

"I hope you understand the balance we're trying to strike."

He also defended the UK government's track and trace programme and said that 500,000 tests would be carried out every day by the end of the monthA message from the Editor:Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.Subscribe to scotsman.com and enjoy unlimited access to Scottish news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit https://www.scotsman.com/subscriptions now to sign up.

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