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Government’s ‘work from home’ message returns

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has set out a number new measures to slow the spread of novel coronavirus (Covid-19), including a re-emergence of its call for people to work from home if they can.

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New measures include a requirement for all retail staff to wear face coverings

Setting out the government’s plans in Parliament today (Tuesday), Johnson said that while this would not be a return to full lockdown for England, it would see restrictions tightened in certain areas.

This includes asking people to work from home if they can – something that is not possible for many in print, as they are required on the workshop floor to printing and finishing equipment.

Johnson also announced measures whereby retail staff will have to wear face masks while at work, while leisure facilities such as pubs, bars and restaurants will have to close at 10pm daily from this Thursday.

The measures only apply to England, but Johnson said similar restrictions will be put in place by the governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

“We always knew while we might have driven the virus into retreat, the prospect of a second wave was real,” Johnson said in Parliament, adding: “I’m sorry to say that as in many other countries, we’ve reached a perilous turning point.”

I’m sorry to say that as in many other countries, we’ve reached a perilous turning point

The statement came after two of the government’s top scientific advisors this week warned that urgent action was required if the UK were to avoid Covid-19 spiralling out of control.

Chief scientific officer Sir Patrick Vallance and chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty said that cases could reach as many as 50,000 a day by the middle of next month if the government did not act.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer welcomed the new measures set out by Johnson, but also accused the Prime Minister and his government of not having a proper strategy in place to tackle the crisis.

“One day people are encouraged to work in an office…today they're told the opposite," Starmer said, adding: “This is a time of national crisis but we need clear leadership.”

Starmer also raised concerns about the end of the furlough scheme, which is due to conclude at the end of October, saying thus, coupled with the new measures, is likely to lead to mass job losses across the UK.

The government has so far rejected calls for the scheme to be extended.

If you have an interesting story or a view on this news, then please e-mail news@printmonthly.co.uk

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