WHEN it comes to the Government’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak, there is a balance to be struck between ensuring the public are as well-informed as possible and avoiding an unwarranted panic. At the minute, Boris Johnson’s inertia is achieving neither.

Despite one of the holidaymakers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship becoming the first Briton to die from the virus yesterday, the Prime Minister will spend the weekend at his country retreat. Only on Monday will he chair his first Cobra meeting on the virus.

His lack of urgency comes at the end of a week in which he has been criticised for his failure to visit any of the areas affected by the recent flooding, and follows a refusal to allow senior ministers to appear on a number of BBC programmes because of an ongoing row with the corporation.

This is not a time for points scoring. Mr Johnson triumphed at the general election because the public rated him a better leader than Jeremy Corbyn. Perhaps, then, it is time he started leading rather than hiding away.