Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to speak to the nation tonight, with anticipation mounting over any change to the current lockdown rules. Ahead of the announcement, the official Government advice to the public on coronavirus has changed to “Stay alert, control the virus, save lives”.
The message from Mr Johnson comes more than six weeks after he imposed the lockdown on March 23, telling people to stay at home and only leave for “very limited” and essential purposes.
These included shopping for basic necessities, once-a-day exercise, medical needs and travelling to work, but only when it could not be done from home.
The Government then adopted the slogan: “Stay home, protect the NHS, save lives.”
Ahead of Mr Johnson’s second address, due to be broadcast on Sunday at 7pm, this slogan has now been dropped.
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What are the six rules PM issued ahead of lockdown speech?
On Twitter, Mr Johnson tweeted a video and images to enforce the new Government stance on coronavirus.
The Prime Minister’s official Twitter account said: “Everyone has a role to play in helping to control the virus by staying alert and following the rules.
“This is how we can continue to save lives as we start to recover from coronavirus.”
The six rules outlined by the Prime Minister were as follows
1. Stay at home as much as possible
2. Work from home if you can
3. Limit contact with other people
4. Keep your distance if you go out – two metres apart where possible
5. Wash your hands regularly
6. Self isolate if you or anyone in your household has symptoms
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The new slogan issued with this advice is “Stay alert, control the virus, save lives”.
Ahead of the announcement, a No 10 spokesman said the public can stay alert by “staying at home as much as possible”, “limiting contact with other people” and keeping two metres apart where possible.
The spokesman said: “We can control the virus by keeping the rate of infection (R) and the number of infections down.”
Official guidance from the Department of Health (DHSC) said people should also continue to work from home where possible and wash their hands regularly.
However there has already been backlash around the Government stepping away from their “Stay home change lives” slogan and switching to the “stay alert” message.
Opposition politicians and a scientist advising the Government criticised the new message and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the first she had heard of “the PM’s new slogan” was in newspaper reports.
Ms Sturgeon tweeted: “It is of course for him to decide what’s most appropriate for England, but given the critical point we are at in tackling the virus, #StayHomeSaveLives remains my clear message to Scotland at this stage.”
After a Cobra meeting with the PM and devolved leaders, Ms Sturgeon told the Westminster Government not to deploy the stay alert message north of the border, warning the “vague and imprecise” slogan could be “catastrophic”.
The First Minister told Scots the lockdown remained firmly in place and that she does not want additional businesses to open or for people to start returning to work.
Speaking at her daily briefing, Ms Sturgeon said that her citizens could now take unlimited exercise and that she did not expect Downing Street’s immediate changes to be “significant”, with any differences to Scotland being “relatively minor” for now.
Her Welsh counterpart, Mark Drakeford, said the “stay home” message has not changed in Wales.
Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster also said the nation will continue to use the “stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives” message.
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