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Mixed Messages Across the U.K. as Boris Johnson Moves to Relax Lockdown

HeadlineMay 11, 2020

Across Europe, countries continue to relax restrictions as more people return to work and children return to school in some localities. In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced plans to transition from a “stay at home” to a “stay alert” policy starting this week, saying those who cannot work from home should be “encouraged” to go back. He also said people should have unlimited time outside, as long as they respect social distancing rules. In addition, elementary schools could open as soon as next month, he said.

Johnson’s message was met with disapproval and confusion over its lack of clarity. Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have decided to extend their lockdowns. This is Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon: “I have asked the U.K. government not to deploy their 'stay alert' advertising campaign in Scotland, because the message in Scotland at this stage is not 'Stay at home if you can,' the message is 'Except for the essential reasons you know about, stay at home, full stop.'”

Britain has the second-highest death toll after the United States, with around 32,000 confirmed deaths. Boris Johnson also announced Sunday all air travelers will soon be subject to a 14-day quarantine period when entering the country. People traveling from France will be exempt, after the two nations agreed on a reciprocal arrangement.

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