FREEDOM Day and Governmental U-turns were the Covid related topics debated by columnists in the newspapers.

The Daily Mail

Stephen Glover said that after No 10’s latest U-turn, even supporters of Boris Johnson were asking when will the Government get a grip.

“Hundreds of thousands of us are being forced to self-isolate,” he said. “People on holiday in France, or planning to go there, are told at a moment’s notice that they will have to quarantine for ten days because of the South African variant.

“Despite being informed by NHS Test and Trace that he had been in contact with someone with Covid — namely Health Secretary Sajid Javid — Boris Johnson’s immediate response was to try to dodge the rules to which the Government has made all of us subject.”

He said he later caved in and agreed to self isolate.

“This is far from the first time Mr Johnson has shown himself out of kilter with public opinion. Mr Johnson badly needs someone to provide him with a moral compass that is lacking. Unfortunately, no such person appears to exist.”

The Daily Express

Leo McKinstry said the Day of Freedom has become the Descent into Farce.

“These welcome steps [of restrictions lifting] have been overshadowed by a furore over the shabby attempt by the Prime Minister and the Chancellor to evade the Government’s own requirements on self-isolation,” he said. “The contempt for the public was as blatant as the fabrication about “random” participation in a pilot scheme – which just happened to have chosen the two most important politicians in the land.

“Downing Street’s belief that it could get away with such nonsense, on the eve of Freedom Day displayed both spectacular naivety and a gross disdain for the British people.

“Once again, our leaders had demonstrated their hypocrisy in disobeying the very rules that they so eagerly impose on British citizens.”

The Guardian

Gaby Hinsliff said the prime minister’s self-isolation U-turn shouldn’t surprise us: his life is a ‘pilot scheme in seeing how far he can bend the rules’.

“The prime minister’s first instinct, when he was pinged by test and trace on the eve of what he insists on calling freedom day, was not to model the behaviour he asks of the nation, but to try to wriggle out of self-isolating,” she said. “A report from Tony Blair’s Institute for Global Change estimates the number self-isolating could hit 10 million by mid-August, enough to bring the country grinding to a halt.

“Doing nothing, and allowing the self-isolation regime to crumble by default as people take decisions into their own hands, is arguably the worst of all possible options. What is the point of a leader, if it’s not to lead?”