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Boris Johnson grilled on 'vague' UK coronavirus lockdown advice

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Boris Johnson grilled on 'vague' UK coronavirus lockdown advice
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Boris Johnson has faced criticism from ordinary people as well as opposition politicians over his handling of the easing of lockdown restrictions in the UK.

At Monday's daily UK coronavirus briefing from Downing Street, the prime minister took a mix of questions from the press and members of the public.

One such question came from Pooja in Solihull, who focused on the PM's apparent vagueness over who should be returning to work this week. He was roundly criticised for not being clear enough in a statement given on Sunday night, with a 50-page document outlining the details only published on the government website the next day.

Asked by Pooja why he had been so vague about who could start back at work and which businesses can reopen this week, Johnson said: “Everybody has got the clarity of the message” - referring to the original government slogan of 'Stay home, protect the NHS, save lives'. He said people had followed that guidance, and stayed home.

Going forward this week, he added, if you can’t work from home you should talk to your employer about getting back to work. “It must be safe at work and safe to get there," he said. The new slogan is 'Stay alert, control the virus, save lives'.

'Wrong move could be a disaster'

With the UK coming down from the peak of infections and deaths from COVID-19, "the journey has reached most perilous moment where a wrong move could be a disaster,” the Prime Minister told Parliament earlier on Monday.

Following criticism directed at Boris Johnson's statement in Downing Street on Sunday night, which has caused widespread confusion, the PM laid out the plan at an appearance at the Commons.

He explained that:

  • People who cannot work from home should be encouraged to go to work if their business or organisation is allowed to operate
  • Guidance for businesses on making workplaces secure will be published
  • People should avoid public transport if possible
  • People should wear cloth face coverings in enclosed spaces
  • There are no limits on outdoors exercise, and you can rest in a park or play sports with members of your household or with one other person from another household as long as social distancing is observed
  • You can drive as far as you like to outdoor spaces

  • The UK could move to Phase 2 no earlier than 1 June, when there will be a phased reopening of shops, a return for some pupils to school

UK nations at odds with Johnson plan for England

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon outlined her government's strategy concerning the lockdown on Monday -- and it contrasts sharply with Boris Johnson's plan for the UK.

She told a daily briefing it was "too risky" to change restrictions, and the message to people remains: "stay home". People are not being encouraged to go to work, she said. Johnson's "stay alert" instruction in his TV address on Sunday night applied to England and Wales, the first minister explained.

Sturgeon gave the latest figures for Scotland, saying five more people had died in the last 24-hour period, bringing the total number of COVID-19 deaths to 1,862.

Later the British government said there were 210 deaths from COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours in the UK as a whole, with that number including those inside and outside of hospitals.

At least 32,065 people have died in the UK, making it the second-worst hit country in the world after the US, according to currently available data.

Here is a summary of Monday's developments on the coronavirus pandemic from Europe and around the world:

05.11.2020
23:16

More than 80,000 deaths in USA

Deaths from coronavirus in the United States surpassed 80,000 on Monday evening, with 1,344,512 people infected in the country hardest hit by the pandemic. 
 
According to the Johns Hopkins University count, 80,087 people have lost their lives in the United States to the coronavirus, a figure that far exceeds the 32,140 deaths in the United Kingdom and the 30,739 deaths in Italy. 
 
05.11.2020
21:23

Johnson grilled on lockdown advice

At the daily UK coronavirus briefing from Downing Street, the PM Boris Johnson took a mix of questions from the press and members of the public.
One such question came from Pooja in Solihull, who focused on the PM's apparent vagueness over who should be returning to work this week. He was roundly criticised for not being clear enough in a statement given on Sunday night, with a 50-page document outlining the details only published on the government website the next day.
Asked by Pooja why he had been so vague about who could start back at work and which businesses can reopen this week, Johnson said: “Everybody has got the clarity of the message” - referring to the original government slogan of 'Stay home, protect the NHS, save lives'. He said people had followed that guidance, and stayed home.
Going forward this week, he added, if you can’t work from home you should talk to your employer about getting back to work. “It must be safe at work and safe to get there," he said. The new slogan is 'Stay alert, control the virus, save lives'.
 
05.11.2020
20:38

210 deaths in UK, 65,337 tests in last 24 hours

The UK government has said there were 210 deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, with that number including those inside and outside of hospitals.
 
At least 32,065 people have died in the UK, making it the second-worst hit country in the world after the US, according to currently available data.
 
Watch Boris Johnson's daily coronavirus update in the video player above.
05.11.2020
19:52

NYC death toll could be thousands higher than reported, CDC says

New York's death toll involving COVID-19 could be thousands higher than the reported estimate, a US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention report said.

That's because around 24,172 more people died between March 11 and May 2 than what researchers would expect for the season.
 
That number is nearly 5,300 more than the total of confirmed and suspected deaths from COVID-19.

"The percentages of these excess deaths that occurred in persons infected with SARS-CoV-2 or resulted from indirect impacts of the pandemic are unknown and require further investigation," the CDC report said.

As of May 11, more than 19,000 people have died of COVID-19 in New York City.
05.11.2020
19:35

France records 263 deaths in 24 hours due to coronavirus

France recorded 263 deaths in 24 hours due to COVID-19.

There are currently 2,712 people in intensive care in France and 22,284 in hospital.

Meanwhile the country's constitutional council approved a law on the health emergency in France, while limiting two aspects of tracking coronavirus patients and isolating people.
05.11.2020
19:10

Fewer than 1,000 patients in intensive care in Italy



There were 999 patients in intensive care in Italy on Monday, a first since March 10, said the country's civil protection authority.

On April 3, Italy reached a peak in the number of people in intensive care with 4,068 people, AFP reported.

The death toll was slightly higher on Monday, 179 compared with 165 the previous day.

Italy has a total of 30,739 deaths due to COVID-19 and at least 219,814 confirmed cases of the virus.

05.11.2020
18:44

'We need to get our priorities right as we head to next phase of this fight', World Health Organisation says


The World Health Organisation warned people to stay vigilant as lockdowns begin to ease in many countries.

Preliminary serologic testing has shown that a small portion of the population has had coronavirus.

That means that there is a "large proportion of the population that remain susceptible", said WHO's technical lead Dr Maria Van Kerkhove.

WHO's Dr Mike Ryan added that the idea that countries with lax measures will reach herd immunity is a "dangerous calculation".

"This is a serious disease. This is public enemy number one," he said.

"We need to get our priorities right as we head to the next phase of this fight," Dr Ryan added.

People in hospital are also taking a long time to recover from coronavirus, especially those who have suffered from severe disease.

"People don't necessarily just bounce back to full health," said Dr Ryan, who is the director of the organisation's health emergencies programme, said in response to a question about recovery time.

The WHO said the current breakdown of cases shows that around 40% of patients have mild symptoms and 40% have moderate symptoms (including pneumonia) but will not need hospitalisation. Another 15% are exhibiting severe disease and 5% critical, requiring ICU and ventilatory support.
05.11.2020
16:55

Boris Johnson lays out plan for the UK

With the UK coming down from the peak of infections and deaths from COVID-19, "the journey has reached most perilous moment where a wrong move could be a disaster,” the Prime Minister has told the Commons.
Following criticism directed at Boris Johnson's statement in Downing Street last night, which has caused widespread confusion, the PM laid out the plan at an appearance at the Commons.
 
He explained that
  • People who cannot work from home should be encouraged to go to work if their business or organisation is allowed to operate
  • Guidance for businesses on making workplaces secure will be published
  • People should avoid public transport if possible
  • People should wear cloth face coverings in enclosed spaces
  • There are no limits on outdoors exercise, and you can rest in a park or play sports with members of your household or with one other person from another household as long as social distancing is observed
  • You can drive as far as you like to outdoor spaces
  • The UK could move to Phase 2 no earlier than 1 June, when there will be a phased reopening of shops, a return for some pupils to school
 
05.11.2020
15:41

Watch live: Boris Johnson addresses Commons after confusing statement

The UK's prime minister is due in Parliament shortly, facing questions from MPs about the coronavirus response. He is expected to lay out more information on the government's latest guidance.
Boris Johnson's much-anticipated statement about the UK's COVID-19 lockdown was roundly criticised on Monday, with the head of the largest police officers' union, the Police Federation, arguing that officers needed "crystal clear guidance" rather than "loose rules". 
05.11.2020
15:39

How European nations are planning to come out of lockdown

Want to know how different countries across Europe are approaching coming out of lockdown?
 
Many have started implementing tentative plans to reopen, and get their economies going again.