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The prime minister’s message has changed from ‘stay at home if you can’ to ‘go back to work if you can’.

Back To Work

Boris Johnson shifted the message today, asking people to “go back to work if you can”. A notable change from the previous ask that the public work from home where possible.

The prime minister, answering questions from the public via video from a desk in Downing Street, he said: “I think everybody has sort of taken the ‘stay at home if you can’ – I think we should now say, well, ‘go back to work if you can’. Because I think it’s very important that people should try to lead their lives more normally.”

As Paul pointed out in yesterday’s edition of the Waugh Zone, the government’s main concern now appears to be that the public remain too scared to return to town centres, offices and shops.

‌Johnson also dropped a strong hint that tougher laws are coming on face coverings. The PM, who has not been seen in public wearing a face covering himself, said “we need to be stricter” on insisting coverings are worn in “confined places”.

“We are looking at ways of making sure that people really do have face coverings in shops, for instance, where there is a risk of transmission,” he said.

‌Explaining the change in approach, Johnson added the “balance of scientific opinion seems to have shifted more in favour of them”. But he said he did not want to “get to world” where people would be told to wear a face covering “all the time everywhere”.

‌The PM also appeared to trail a U-turn on Huawei’s involvement in the UK’s 5G network. “We have to protect our critical national infrastructure,” he said. An announcement to parliament is expected soon.

Today’s “People’sPMQs”, unlike the previous editions in which Johnson was breezily able to answer the questions he liked, was essentially an expanded version of the public questions at the daily No.10 press conference. Just without the journalists.

And the PM did manage to avoid tricky subjects such as: why did he claim “nobody knew” coronavirus could be transmitted asymptomatically when Sage said in January there was evidence? Why did he miss the self-imposed target of all test results being returned within 24-hours? Why will NHS staff have to pay for parking at hospitals? Why Chris Grayling?

ted its guidelines on how the coronavirus is transmitted, stating that the likelihood that the virus can go airborne, particularly in enclosed spaces like restaurants and gyms, “cannot be ruled out.” Read more