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Johnson further obfuscates ‘vague’ back-to-work advice during press conference

BORIS JOHNSON added further confusion to his “vague” and “perplexing” back-to-work and “stay alert” message during today’s Downing Street press conference on the coronavirus crisis.

The PM appeared to attempt to clarify his address to the nation that he made on Sunday night that has sparked criticism from opposition parties and trade unions over its lack of clarity.

In his pre-recorded address to the nation, he said that those that can return to work should return today. But Mr Johnson’s deputy, Foreign Secretary Dominic Rab, confused matters even more by saying that the guidance applies from Wednesday.

During today’s press conference, Mr Johnson said that workers who cannot work from home should “get in touch” with their bosses to discuss whether they should return to work this week.

He also said: “Stay at home if you can but go to work now if you have no alternative.”

During the press conference, Mr Johnson added that workers in industries such as construction and manufacturing – who had been urged to return to work – should still remain at home if they had no access to childcare or if their children are yet to return to school.

He acknowledged that having no childcare was an “obvious barrier” to returning to work.

The PM took questions from members of the public. Pooja in Solihull asked him why new instructions on who could get to work are “so vague.”

He replied that “we’ve had to make a big, big change in our lives over the last couple of months” and claimed that the old stay-at-home messaging was very clear.

Mr Johnson added: “It’s when you come to take small steps back to normality, as we are now, that clearly the message becomes finer, more complicated.”

He also elaborated on the government’s new “stay alert” slogan for tackling the pandemic which has been widely mocked.

Mr Johnson said: “We’re now asking people to stay alert, control the virus and save lives and yes, staying alert for the vast majority of people still means staying at home as much as possible.

“But there are a range of other actions we’re advising people to take as we modify our measures.

“People should stay alert by working from home, if you can, limiting contact with other people.”


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