Coronavirus: No easy answers for Boris Johnson – just hard choices and a long road ahead

It has been more than a month since the prime minister last appeared at the daily coronavirus news conference.

A lot has changed since then for him personally and for the nation he leads.

A personal journey that has taken Boris Johnson through grave illness and great joy in four short weeks.

From an intensive care unit in an NHS hospital suffering with coronavirus, to a maternity ward only yesterday to witness the birth of his new baby son.

And the nation has been on a journey too, from relatively normal life to lockdown; watching the horror of the coronavirus epidemic flow through our communities and take the lives of thousands of our fellow citizens.

A time of anxiety and isolation punctuated by moments of solidarity and optimism – be it the weekly applause for the NHS or Colonel Tom Moore’s phenomenal fundraising.

The prime minister’s absence felt all the more acute by his return today, as he finally gave us some hope that the end of the beginning was now on the horizon. He told us: “We are past the peak and on the downward slope.”

After days of ministerial stonewalling at the House of Commons’ despatch box and the daily news briefing, the prime minister finally gave us some insight about what the end of the beginning might look like.

Mr Johnson promised he would set out a detailed plan next week.

Getting children back to schools and adults back to work are the clear priorities.

As for our social lives, a senior minister told me that would have to wait.

They said: “Bars and restaurants, no way. Getting schools back is difficult enough.”

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