The many U-turns of Boris Johnson

Johnson addresses the nation during a news conference on the coronavirus at 10 Downing Street on October 22, 2020 in London, England.

(CNN)Prime Minister Boris Johnson surprised the United Kingdom this weekend by announcing tough new coronavirus restrictions in some areas just days after saying such measures would be "inhuman." But at the close of an unpredictable and unprecedented year, the British leader's U-turn on holiday season travel and gatherings was just one more in a series of rosy predictions and failed promises. Here's a short review:

December 16, 2020 - Canceling Christmas would be 'inhuman'

    What Johnson said: "We don't want to ban Christmas, to cancel it, and I think that would be frankly inhuman and against the instincts of many people in this country."
    What happened next: Four days later, Boris Johnson announced that London, the southeast and the east of England would be put under Tier 4 restrictions -- essentially a lockdown -- scrapping or severely restricting Christmas travel plans for millions of people.
    The lockdowns were spurred the discovery of a new strain of coronavirus.

    July 17, 2020 -- A 'return to normality' by Christmas

    What Johnson said: "It is my strong and sincere hope that we will be able to review the outstanding restrictions and allow a more significant return to normality from November at the earliest, possibly in time for Christmas."
    What happened next: An easing of restrictions had been announced on July 17 for the beginning of August. The plan included allowing indoor performances with live audiences and pilot schemes of larger gatherings in places like sports stadiums to be held "with a view to a wider reopening in the autumn," and the withdrawal of a blanket advice to work from home.
    Speaking at a press conference, Boris Johnson had said: "It is my strong and sincere hope that we will be able to review the outstanding restrictions and allow a more significant return to normality from November at the earliest, possibly in time for Christmas."
    The Prime Minister also said that as authorities knew more about the virus, targeted and local responses would allow for a control of the virus: "At the start of the pandemic, when we knew far less about the nature and spread of the virus, we had to take blanket, national measures. National lockdown was undoubtedly the right thing to do and has saved many thousands of lives. Now however, we know more about the virus -- we understand the epidemiology better and our intelligence on where it is spreading is vastly improved. That means we can control it through targeted, local action instead."
    By October 14, with cases rising dramatically across the country, Johnson mocked Labour Party leader Keir Starmer at Prime Minister's Questions for suggesting a new lockdown was needed, saying: "Let's try to avoid the misery of another national lockdown which he would want to impose, as I said, in a headlong way."
    Two weeks later, on October 31, Johnson announced a second national lockdown effective November 5 for a four-week period.

    May 20, 2020 -- 'World-beating' test and trace system up and running by June 1

    What Johnson said: "We have growing confidence that we will have a test, track and trace operation that will be world-beating and yes, it will be in place by June 1."
    What happened next: On May 27, UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced the launch of a "test and trace" system in England: "Until an effective treatment or vaccine comes through, how can we get back to doing more of the things that make life worth living without risking safety or putting lives at risk, NHS test and trace is a big part — not the only part — but a big part of the answer to that question."
    "NHS test and trace means we can start to replace the national lockdown with individual isolation for those in contact with the virus," Hancock said at a daily government briefing.
    When pressed by Labour leader Keir Starmer on whether the system w