British PM accepts public frustration with lockdown easing rules - GulfToday

British PM accepts public frustration with lockdown easing rules


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson makes a statement in Downing Street, London. AP

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson admitted on Sunday that there was public frustration with his government's measures to ease the coronavirus lockdown following widespread criticism of the new rules, which he admitted were more complex.


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As a poll for the Observer newspaper indicated growing dissatisfaction with Johnson's handling of the crisis, he wrote in the Mail on Sunday paper: "I understand that people will feel frustrated with some of the new rules."

On Wednesday, ministers began a gradual easing of restrictions in England, with people who could not work from home encouraged to return to their jobs whilst being told to avoid using public transport if possible.

Paramedics prepare to transfer a patient into The Royal London Hospital in east London. AFP

The changes do not apply to people in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, whose semi-autonomous governments have not eased the lockdown.

There has been criticism that the government's message is confusing and sent out mixed messages. People are still forbidden to invite friends and relatives into their homes, for example, but can allow in prospective home buyers for property viewings.

Growing disapproval

Sunday's Observer poll showed 42% now disapproved of the government's handling of the crisis -- a fall of nine points from last week. That compared with 39% who approved, the first time more people were unhappy with the government's performance than supportive.

A woman is seen wearing a protective face mask as the spread of the coronavirus disease continues, in London. Reuters

"We are trying to do something that has never had to be done before -- moving the country out of a full lockdown, in a way which is safe and does not risk sacrificing all of your hard work," Johnson said in the Mail on Sunday.

"I recognise what we are now asking is more complex than simply staying at home — but this is a complex problem and we need to trust in the good sense of the British people."

So far 34,466 people have died in Britain after testing positive for COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus, the highest figure in Europe.


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