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Boris Johnson has unveiled a new “punchy” mantra to encourage people to wash their hands, cover their face and keep their distance.
Speaking at a Downing Street press briefing on Friday, the Prime Minister said “hands, face, space, and get a test” is the new mantra he wants the public to remember.
“We need to keep it as simple as we possibly can and that’s why, to sum it up in a nutshell, is: hands, face, space,” he said.
“Wash your hands, cover your face in the settings that we had mentioned and keep your distance from other people where you don’t know them, you’re coming into contact with them for the first time, and of course get a test and self-isolate if you have symptoms.
“I hope that was pretty…you know, that was pretty punchy I think – ‘hands, face, space, and get a test’. I think everybody can more or less remember that.”
In a moment caught on camera and microphone, Mr Johnson turned to England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty as they were leaving the podium at the end of the briefing and said: “I think I repeated that often enough.”
“With those numbers creeping up, our assessment is that we should squeeze that brake pedal… in order to keep the virus under control,” he said.
“On Saturday August 1, you’ll remember we had hoped to reopen a number of the higher-risk settings that had remained closed and today I’m saying we’re postponing those changes for at least a fortnight.
“That means until August 15 at the earliest casinos, bowling alleys, skating rinks and the remaining close-contact services must remain closed.
“Indoor performances will not resume, pilots of larger gatherings in sports venues and conference centres will not take place, and wedding receptions of up to 30 people will not be permitted.”
Mr Johnson apologised for the “real blow” to many people’s plans, but said “we cannot simply take the risk”.
“I know that the steps we are taking will be a real blow to many people, to everyone whose wedding plans have been disrupted or who cannot now celebrate Eid in the way that they would wish,” he said.
“And I’m really, really sorry about that but we cannot simply take the risk.”
Prof Whitty warned that the UK has potentially reached a limit for how much of society can be opened up.
“I think what we’re seeing from the data from ONS and other data is that we have probably reached near the limit or the limits of what we can do in terms of opening up society,” he told the briefing.
“So what that means potentially is that if we wish to do more things in the future, we may have to do less of some other things.
“And these will be difficult trade-offs, some of which will be decisions for government and some of which are for all of us as citizens to do.
“But we have to be realistic about this. The idea that we can open up everything and keep the virus under control is clearly wrong.”