The United Kingdom has drawn scrutiny for its response to the coronavirus pandemic in comparison with other European nations, leading Pescara manager Nicola Legrottaglie to criticise Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plans as “practically useless.”
Johnson announced an abrupt change to the country’s coronavirus response on Monday after it came to light “in the last few days” that their original plan would cause up to 250,000 unnecessary deaths, per Thomas Colson of Business Insider.
A report published by the Imperial College’s COVID-19 response team said the UK’s “mitigation” strategy would likely lead to “hundreds of thousands” of deaths and leave health systems “being overwhelmed many times over.”
Legrottaglie—who represented Juventus, AC Milan and Italy during a 20-year playing career—took to Instagram and celebrated some British achievements before lambasting Johnson’s leadership:
Goal translated the caption, which held little back in berating Britain’s government for choosing such a different path to other countries affected by the coronavirus:
"So much English stuff. Enviable in the Premier League or in rugby, enchanting with its double-decker buses and black taxis, lovable in the writings of Shakespeare or Dickens, superb in the music of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, admirable minds like Newton or Darwin.
"The old Darwin, that is, the new one a little less – the prime minister [Boris Johnson] proposes natural selection as a solution to the coronavirus. Herd immunity ordered.
"Sixty per cent of the population will fall ill. Those who have the age and strength to survive will go on; the elderly, those affected by other illnesses, the weak... A country that abandons the weak is like a doctor who only treats the healthy. It's practically useless.
"Italy has many flaws. We struggle to stand in line, maybe we litter our streets sometimes, but we do not entrust the natural selection of our population to a virus.
"We do not delegate the task of treating it to the illness itself. We do it with our doctors, our nurses, our rules, but, above all, with our humanity. United.
"Our interpretation is: 'If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them is lost, will he not leave the 99 in the mountains and go looking for the lost one?'"
Social distancing has been promoted in the UK, but official measures have been light compared to other countries up until now. It was reported on Wednesday that schools are to close in the coming days, while
COVID-19 was first identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019 and has been responsible for almost 9,000 deaths worldwide as of March 18.
PM Johnson said on March 3 that he had visited a hospital with coronavirus patients and “shook hands with everybody,” shortly before he appeared on ITV’s This Morning and said gathering in large numbers wasn’t as bad as scientists from other countries had suggested:
He then told reporters on March 16 that it was “the time for everyone to stop all non-essential contact,” displaying a much different tone in his warnings, via Sky News:
Italy has been the worst European country affected by the coronavirus—second only to China worldwide—and seen almost 3,000 deaths as a result of the illness, per the Guardian.
Legrottaglie acknowledged his nation’s “many flaws” but appeared certain Italy had trumped Johnson regarding his slow reaction to the ongoing pandemic.