British Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged people on Sunday to “stay alert” to coronavirus risks, as he prepared to outline plans for gradually easing lockdown measures that have shuttered much of the economy for nearly seven weeks.
The government’s decision to replace its flagship “stay at home” slogan drew criticism from opposition parties who argued that “stay alert” is too ambiguous.
Johnson, due to make a televised address at 1800 GMT, is expected to announce a limited easing of restrictions, such as encouraging those who cannot work from home to return to their offices and factories.
“Everyone has a role to play in helping to control the virus by staying alert and following the rules. This is how we can continue to save lives as we start to recover from coronavirus,” Johnson said in a Twitter message.
He also tweeted a new government poster that lists rules including “stay at home as much as possible,” “limit contact with other people” and “keep your distance if you go out.”
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Johnson will detail a system ranging from “green” at level 1 to “red” at level 5 that will allow the government to flag coronavirus risks in different parts of England and to increase restrictions where necessary.
The government wants the United Kingdom’s other constituent nations – Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – to follow the same steps but they have the power to diverge in their measures.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the only change she was making to lockdown measures was to allow people to exercise more than once a day.
“(That) is the only change that the Scottish government judges that it is safe to make right now without risking a rapid resurgence of the virus,” she told a news conference.
Sturgeon added she was sticking with the “stay at home” message and had asked the UK government not to use its “stay alert” advertising campaign in Scotland.