The Coronavirus (aka Covid-19) has had the dubious distinction of knocking Brexit off the front page as the main source of concern and anxiety in the UK press.
The two topics are inevitably, however, somewhat inter-linked, with Sir Ed Davey, current joint leader of the UK Liberal Democrats, calling for the Brexit transition period to be extended so that the UK Government can focus on dealing with the Coronovirus (and indeed with the consequences of the recent floods in the UK and other natural disasters). Clearly, Sir Ed does not believe that Mr Johnson is capable of multi-tasking!
Another reported impact of the Coronavirus in the UK is that the UK Government is said to have ruled out participating in the EU's pandemic Early Warning and Response System (EWRS) post-Brexit.
The EWRS is an online platform which has been in existence for 22 years and is designed to let health chiefs in different participating countries (both within the EU and between the EU and third countries) exchange information speedily about "serious cross-border threats to health".
According to The Telegraph, its sources suggest that the UK Department of Health has been lobbying the UK Government for continued access to the EWRS but so far to no avail.
The UK Government is apparently keen not to burden its trade negotiations with the EU with what it considers to be extraneous subject - matter which from the EU side might include Greece's indicated desire to use the negotiations as an opportunity to retrieve the Elgin marbles and other cultural objects). The UK wants to focus the trade negotiations on getting a trade deal, pure and simple, along the lines ideally of Canada - EU Trade Agreement ( CETA).
Events on the ground are, however, moving rapidly and dealing with the Coronavirus issue may require Governments and negotiators to modify fixed positions in the interests of public health and the common good.