‘Stay at Home’ message to be ditched as lockdown measures could be eased on Monday, Boris Johnson says


BRITAIN’S ‘Stay at Home’ message is set to be ditched in days as Boris Johnson prepares to ease lockdown measures on Monday.

The PM will address the nation on Sunday with a roadmap for how to tweak the current lockdown measures, some of which may come into effect the very next day.

Boris returned to PMQs today and told the nation some lockdown measures may change on Monday
He went up against Labour boss Sir Keir Starmer for the first time

The Mail on Sunday reported today that Public Health England is ordering all “Stay Home” messaging to be taken down by Saturday night.

It fuelled speculation that the public will get a new message from the PM on Sunday .

A leaked message said: “Please ensure that all Stay Home messaging is removed from websites, social media and any other available channels.

“As the PM is expected to set out a road map on how the UK will move out of the lockdown on Sunday, we anticipate that we will shortly transition to a new phase of the campaign.”

A Downing Street spokesman declined to comment, saying No10 did not speak for Public Health England.

Ditching the Stay at Home message would be a major milestone in Britain’s fight against the killer disease, breaking the slogan of the past six weeks.

Messages written on the PM’s official Twitter account today appear to be using the phase “stay home” less and “stay safe” more.

Boris Johnson will in days lay out how he hopes to get Britain back to work and school once again, giving hope to millions of people that they could see restrictions lifted.

And he admitted today that some tweaks may come into effect on Monday, though no huge plans are on the cards.

Addressing MPs and the nation this lunchtime, he confirmed he would give a speech on Sunday.

The news came as:

  • Boris set a new target of reaching the capacity for 200,000 tests a day by the end of the month
  • Matt Hancock said it was “too early” to set a date for schools going back but he hoped to do that in the next few weeks
  • Scientists say they think a more deadly coronavirus strain is spreading across Europe
  • The public could soon enjoy picnics with up to ten friends in a ‘bubble’ – and exercise more than once a day
  • Brits could order a pint to be delivered to a pub garden as outdoor spaces tipped to be among first to reopen
  • Britain’s furlough scheme could be wound down to help only the poorest workers, insiders said

MPs had questioned why he is not going straight to the Commons to tell them first.

Boris replied: “The reason for that is very simple. We have to be sure that the data is going to support our ability to do this.

“But that data is coming in continuously over the next few days.

“We will want if we possibly can, to get going with some of these measures on Monday.”

Boris said it would be helpful “if people have an idea of what is coming the following day” in his Sunday address, but stressed he wanted the most up-to-date information before changing anything.

Boris introduced the nationwide lockdown on March 23, ordering everyone to stay inside and only go outside for four reasons.

The measures are set to be formally reviewed on May 7 – this Thursday.

It’s expected that ministers will get advice from the Government’s scientific committee, SAGE, on the options for easing some measures.

But most of the lockdown rules are set to stay in place for another three weeks.

The PM could unveil a new traffic light system to help ease the lockdown – with green showing measures which can be taken, amber showing actions they should take care on, and red for activities they should still avoid.

Scientists said in documents revealed yesterday that such a system would be helpful for conveying new messages to the public.

No10 has stressed repeatedly that some measures could be tightened if they need to.

Appearing at his first press conference last week, since his own fight with the deadly illness, Boris said Britain is now “past the peak” of the virus and revealed an exit plan will be unveiled.

He said: “We will be setting out comprehensive plans next week to explain how we can get our economy moving, how we can get our children back to school, back into childcare, and how we can travel to work and make life in the workplace safe.”

The PM said Britain must “keep going” for now – and prepared to extend the shutdown into June.

Ealier today Greene King customers were given hope that they may be able to order drinks from pub gardens via their mobile phones under reopening plans suggested by the pub chain’s boss.

Pub gardens will most likely be the first areas that will reopen following the coronavirus lockdown, according to chief executive Nick Mackenzie.

To help maintain social distancing, this could mean punters will have to order drinks via the free Greene King app on their phone.

Drinks will also be delivered in a way that keeps staff and customers safe.

His idea would see customers still able to order drinks, but they won’t be allowed inside pubs.

Boris Johnson has set out five tests that must be met before easing the measures completely.

Britain must ensure that the NHS has enough capacity, that there is a sustained fall in the daily death rate, and that the level of infections are down too.

PPE challenges must be met, and the Government must be sure that no second spike will overwhelm the health service.

Earlier this week Boris said that “we must keep going” until all of those are met, before ending the nationwide shut down.

Boris could relax restrictions on exercising – and allow Brits to do it more than once a day

The Prime Minister missed the last two sessions while recovering from coronavirus, but returned to the chamber today for the first time in several weeks.

It comes on the same day the UK’s official death toll became the highest in Europe, at more than 32,000.

Replacing Jeremy Corbyn last month, Sir Keir has called for the PM to form a “national consensus” on easing restrictions.

Mr Johnson has not taken questions in the Commons since March 25, before Parliament broke early for Easter.

He was recovering at the Chequers country estate after being discharged from intensive care.

Last week he didn’t attend PMQs as his fiance Carrie Symonds had just given birth to their son, Wilfred, in a London hospital.

Instead Sir Keir went up against Dominic Raab again.

A police officer cycles past two people sitting on a park bench in lockdown
Boris did not attend PMQs last week as his son Wilfred was born
More information on how workplaces can return to a new normal is expected in the next few days