Boris hits back at Kuenssberg and points at France: 'Stay alert IS the right message'

BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg questioned the Prime Minister about his address to the nation, saying he had failed to provide clarity on what exactly is allowed and what is not. She said many people who had listened to his statement questioned why he had watered down his previous “stay at home” message to “stay alert”. Mr Johnson said his latest advice was fitting, given how the pandemic had progressed and said the French Government had struck a similar tone in their advice to the public.

“For those who think the ‘stay alert’ is not the right message, I think it is absolutely the right message for our country now,” he said.

He said he was “interested” in the fact that France had today opted for “roughly the same sort of thing as our message” in their official advice.

He added: “And I think it’s the right way to go.”

The BBC journalist also questioned if Sir Patrick Vallance, the Government’s chief scientific adviser, and Professor Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer for England, had approved the change in advice from “stay at home” to “stay alert”.

Prof Whitty refused to confirm if he had reviewed the advice before it was issued.

But he said he and Sir Patrick had been involved in discussions with Ministers at each stage.

Ms Kuenssberg told the Prime Minister “a lot of people felt your speech last night raised as many questions as it gave answers”.

She pointed to rules which say workers can see their colleagues but grandparents are not allowed to see their grandchildren.

She claimed many people had been left feeling “perplexed” by the latest revision of the rules.

She said: “What do you say to the millions of people watching right now who may well be a bit perplexed by what you’re actually trying to say and what they are meant to do?”

Mr Johnson responded by saying the UK had made so much progress in combatting the virus and pushing the “R” number down – the rate at which the disease is spread.

He said the country had reached the stage where it was ready to made progress in relaxing rules “very, very cautiously”.

Sir Patrick said “science has had input to the whole plan” and reiterated Mr Johnson’s alert system is a crucial part in tracking how fast the virus is spreading.

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