UK driven to confusion by PM's road map to ease lockdown
LONDON : Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday set out a cautious plan to get Britain back to work, though his attempt to unwind the coronavirus lockdown prompted confusion and even satire.
Britain has the world's second-highest official Covid-19 death toll and, after criticism that he was slow to impose a lockdown, Mr Johnson is extremely wary of triggering a second deadly wave of infection.
"Our plan must countenance a situation where we are in this, together, for the long haul, even while doing all we can to avoid that outcome," Mr Johnson said in a foreword to the 51-page "Our Plan to Rebuild: The UK Government's Covid-19 recovery strategy".
"It is likely that Covid-19 will circulate in the human population long-term, possibly causing periodic epidemics," the plan said. "In the near future, large epidemic waves cannot be excluded without continuing some measures."
The plan includes a staged undertaking to allow businesses to reopen, advice on avoiding public transport and wearing face coverings as well as a 14-day quarantine for most international arrivals.
There was a lack of specific detail, though, on what employers should do to ensure the safety of workers. The leaders of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland said they were sticking with the existing "stay-at-home" message.
Opposition parties said his "Stay Alert" message was meaningless against a virus invisible to the naked eye and that the messaging was confusing.
Lawyers said some employers were confused about who should be working and when.
After weeks of declining to tell the British people to wear face coverings, the government said face coverings should be worn in enclosed spaces where distancing is impossible.
Mr Johnson's stern address to the nation prompted satire.
"So we are saying don't go to work, go to work, don't take public transport, go to work, don't go to work," comedian Matt Lucas said in a short video watched almost four million times on Twitter.
"If you can work from home, go to work.
"And then we will or won't, something or other." - REUTERS