On Sunday evening (Monday morning AEST), UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson sat down to address the British public.
It was a highly anticipated address, setting out his government’s next steps in the coronavirus pandemic.
Then he started… talking. For 14 whole minutes, and at the end, people were even less sure about how it was going than they were before.
Watch: Boris Johnson’s address. Post continues below video.
Johnson urged the country to take its first tentative steps out of strict lockdown this week, but his message was criticised as being divisive, confusing and vague.
The most immediate change was Johnson’s plea to those who cannot work from home – like those in construction and manufacturing – saying they “should be actively encouraged to go to work”.
But he stated those going back to work should avoid public transport, and instead go by car, “or even better by walking or bicycle”.
He indicated schools in England would open for year one and year six as early as June 1, but said restaurants and cafes would remain closed until at least July. The classic British pub, situated on almost every street, had no indication of when they could open.
English residents could now enjoy unlimited exercise, and sunbathe in the park if they practice social distancing. They can play sport too, but only with members of their household.
Johnson also updated his government’s COVID-19 slogan from “Stay home, protect the NHS, save lives” to “Stay alert to control the virus and save lives”.
Leaders of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland distanced themselves from Johnson’s address. Although he is the British leader, his announcement only really applied to England as the other three nations’ leaders are in charge of their coronavirus roadmaps.