The Coronavirus lockdown, which is now six weeks old, and already biting into the financial reserves of many small and medium-sized businesses, is set to continue, says Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who maintains that the arrangement will be kept in place until he, himself, starts to 'feel the pinch'.
Johnson told journalists:
"I realise it's jolly inconvenient, and people would rather be at work, earning money, so that their families can eat, and so forth, but we have to contain the virus, and if we all have to endure a bit of hardship, then that's just how it has to be."
It was pointed out to Mr. Johnson that not all of us are having to endure a bit of hardship.
"Well, of course, there's hardship, and then there's 'HARDSHIP', isn't there? At the moment, things haven't got to the stage where people are starving to death, for Heaven's sake!"
Asked what would happen when that point was reached, Johnson said:
"We've got to accept that, sometimes, people die. No-one is immortal, and if some people have to give up their right to life to save the lives of many others, I think that's a small price to pay, quite frankly."
A hundred journalists gasped.
Sensing trouble, Johnson quickly added:
"But look, I know it can't go on forever. We believe we are over the worst of it. Our medical services and their wonderful staff are standing up to the virus, and we are confident that we will overcome it."
Asked for a 'roundabouts date' as to when people could expect to be allowed out-of-doors again, to go back to work to save their businesses from going bankrupt, Johnson said:
"Yes, well, when I can't get my favourite champagne, or oysters for my breakfast, or I have to put up with ordinary, substandard cigars, I suppose that would be about as much as I, personally, would want to put up with. And if salmon became thin on the ground, that would be a turning point. There is only so much suffering people can stand. Until then, the British pleb will just have to like it or lump it."