Coronavirus: Stanley Johnson claims he predicted Covid-19 pandemic in novel published 40 years ago

Author and former politician recently came under fire for announcing he would continue going to the pub, despite advice from his son, the Prime Minister

Boris Johnson's father says he will go to the pub despite coronavirus warnings

Stanley Johnson has claimed a novel he wrote 40 years ago “predicted” the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.

In a piece for The Telegraph, Boris Johnson’s father wrote how his book The Marburg Virus imagined the outbreak of a deadly contagious virus.

“The basic driver of my plot was the pressure of time, the urgent need to find some antidote or means of immunisation to protect populations before they were overwhelmed by the disease in spite of the measures of ‘containment’ or ‘delay’,” he wrote.

Johnson apparently travelled to various medical facilities around the world as part of research for his book.

“My book’s hero, Dr Lowell Kaplan, a brilliant epidemiologist working for the CDC, has an advantage over those engaged in the current race to find an antidote to the coronavirus,” he wrote.

“He knows, or thinks he knows, the original source of the infection. If he can track down and capture a live green monkey from the very tribe of monkeys which supplied the Marburg medical school at the time of the first outbreak, he calculates the boffins will be able to develop and manufacture an antidote and rush it out to stem the growing pandemic, so humanity can be saved.”

“Will the fight against Covid-19 be as successful as my fictional hero was in fighting the Marburg Virus? We must hope so,” Johnson concluded.

He made sure to note that his book is being published in hardback next year.

The author and former politician recently came under fire for announcing he would ignore advice from health officials to avoid non-essential contact, and continue going to the pub.

His comments came less than a day after his son, the prime minister, urged the British public to “avoid pubs, clubs, theatres and other such social venues” to slow the spread of Covid-19.

Johnson’s refusal to follow the warning was especially notable as the government said its advice was particularly important for people over the age of 70. Johnson is 79.

“Of course, I’ll go to a pub if I need to go to a pub,” he told This Morning presenter Philip Schofield.

“He [the prime minister] said we should avoid going to pubs, but if I had to go to a pub, I’d go to a pub,” he added, before receiving an incredulous response from the ITV presenters.

The author and former politician then went on to say landlords who run pubs “don’t want people to be not in [them] at all”.

All UK pubs, bars and restaurants have since been told to close.

Looking for entertainment while you self-isolate? Check out the best underrated TV shows to watch here, and the best films to stream here.

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