The vast majority of publications are running on the news this morning that London is bracing for a coronavirus lockdown.
However, there’s another side to this story.
These reports are not based on a public statement from Boris Johnson or even one of his ministers. Instead, the plan has been whispered to the press through “anonymous” government sources.
As Sky News tweeted last night: “Whitehall sources say most shops could close and transport could be restricted to key workers in London by the weekend under plans being considered in government.”
This has caused a large amount of consternation, with people saying that “Whitehall sources” are sowing panic by releasing half-baked nuggets of information.
Guardian columnist Owen Jones said:
While another Twitter user was a bit more blunt: “Whitehall sources need to f*cking stop. We’re in a pandemic situation and people are frightened.”
Indeed, do we think Londoners will be reacting calmly and rationally to these rumours, or do you think a large number of them will be queuing at the supermarket this morning?
The government’s approach to communicating with the public during this crisis has been an absolute mess.