Government to axe ‘Stay at Home’ messaging despite Boris Johnson insisting measures must continue

PUBLISHED: 11:20 27 April 2020 | UPDATED: 11:39 27 April 2020

Police patrol the streets of Glasgow as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. Photograph: Andrew Milligan/PA.

Police patrol the streets of Glasgow as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. Photograph: Andrew Milligan/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

Ministers are said to be close to ditching the ‘Stay at Home’ government messaging, despite Boris Johnson insisting that the lockdown measures must to continue to avoid more coronavirus deaths.

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The Daily Mail reports that ditching the successful message will be discussed at the government’s coronavirus strategy group on Monday.

“We are moving on from Stay at Home,” a source told the newspaper. “But that does not mean we are anywhere near going back to normal. We are all going to have to adapt to a new normal.”

“The prime minister’s big concern is avoiding a second peak, which would require a second lockdown.

“He is clear that we cannot afford to do anything which would mean losing control of the rate of infection because that would mean more people dying. It would also mean a return to the lockdown, which would be damaging to public trust and terrible for business.”

A fortnight ago it was reported Boris Johnson’s team wanted to “soften” the messaging, fearing that it had “gone too far”.

But Johnson also used his first speech back at work to tell the public must not give up the fight against coronavirus to avoid “a new wave of deaths”.

In recent days the government has been accused of “mixed messaging” by allowing more staff back to their workplaces while telling people to remain in their households.

Susan Michie, a health psychologist who sits on the government’s SAGE committee, told Sky News: “What we have seen this last week is that many employers are opening up business again.


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“We must realise that some people are responding to what they are being asked to do, they are not flouting the rules.

MORE: Boris Johnson returns to work and urges public not to give up coronavirus fight

“It is very, very difficult when we are getting mixed messages from the government – on the one hand stay at home, on the other hand go into non-essential work.”

Michie added that people had “a powerful influence” on each other, explaining: “It may be that people then think, ‘well they are out and about, I think I will go out and about too’. We have a real problem there.”

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