Boris Johnson was slow to respond to the coronavius danger and has undeniably mishandled the next steps.

The “Stay Alert” bewilderment, backfiring briefings and the breaking of a fragile UK-wide consensus are major stumbles.

When the Prime Minister is responsible for much of the uncertainty, he must correct his mistakes and treat the public as intelligent people who are entitled to an adult dialogue on where our country goes next.

Yet he appears keener to loosen the -lockdown than a populace still frightened of a?plague that’s killed more here than in any other country in Europe.

When people are confident they can use public transport and work safely, they will.

Until then, a Prime Minister who prefers colourful broad strokes to painstaking detail must not cut wage subsidies or try to shame the worried into gambling with their lives.

To stay safe, we need to be alert to siren political voices championing a false bargain, valuing a nation’s wealth over our health.