Boris Johnson has tweeted out six updated coronavirus rules ahead of his long-awaited lockdown speech.
The Prime Minister included the government’s new slogan ‘stay alert, control the virus, save lives’ in his tweet despite widespread criticism about its ambiguity from politicians and the public today.
The previous “stay home” slogan appears to have been dropped ahead of the unveiling of the government’s plans to gradually ease the lockdown over the next few months.
The Prime Minister will outline his “road map” to a new normality in his address to the nation at 7pm.
His tweet, titled ‘We can help control the virus if all STAY ALERT,’ directed the public to;
- Stay at home as much as possible
- Work from home if you can
- Limit contact with other people
- Keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
- Wash your hands regularly
- If you or anyone in your household has symptoms, you all need to self-isolate
He added: “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 new advice is a move from previous messaging that laid out much more strict rules about staying at home and socialising with others.
The previous guidance stated that the ‘only reasons to leave home’ were;
- To shop for basic necessities or pick up medicine
- To travel to work when you absolutely cannot work from home
- To exercise once a day, alone or with members of your household
Regarding socialising, it strictly said;
- Do not meet others, even friends or family
It is thought the Prime Minister could begin to ease certain measures as soon as tomorrow – though the government has maintained any changes would be minimal.
In the briefing tonight Mr Johnson will set out a five-tier warning system for the coronavirus in England as part of the government’s plans to begin slowly easing lockdown measures.
It is understood the system – with alerts ranging from level one (green) to level five (red) – is similar to the one used to inform the public about the terror threat level.
The threat level scale in regards to terrorism states that ‘threat levels do not have an expiry date’ and ‘can change at any time as different information becomes available’
Mr Johnson is expected to say England is currently at stage four but moving towards stage three in his address to the nation at 7pm.
The warning tool – to be administered by a new “joint biosecurity centre” – will indicate at each stage how much more we can open up – and where.
Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Robert Jenrick told Sky News this morning that they will be monitoring the threat level on a national and regional scale, meaning that different measures could apply to different towns, neighbourhoods or even individual work places or schools.
Mr Jenrick said: “Many people will be aware of the threat level that we’ve had in this country for some time, which measures the ongoing threat of terrorism and other risks to our safety.
“At the moment we believe the country is at 4 on a scale of 5 with 5 being the most concerning. Our aspiration is to bring that down as swiftly as we can to three.
“At each stage, at each of those milestones we will be in a position to open up and restart more aspects of the economy and our lives.
“We are going to be rigorously monitoring our performance against that.
“That will be done on a national scale but the evidence behind that will also be able to inform what we do on a local level and if we see that there are outbreaks particular localities – neighbourhoods, schools, towns, then we may be able to take particular measures in those places as we build up a more sophisticated and longer term response to controlling the virus
The United Kingdom’s other constituent nations – Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – have some powers over their own lockdown measures but are expected to stay broadly in line with what the government announces for England.
After parts of the plans were briefed to newspapers today people have expressed their concerns over how people will interpret the change in slogan.
Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said the Government’s new “stay alert” slogan risks ambiguity and Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she will not be using it.
MS Minister for Health and Social Services Vaughan Gething also said that Wales would not be adopting the new slogan and there messaging has not changed.