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‘Go back to work’ message dropped in huge Government U-turn

Busy streets as Brits return to work
Brits have been told to ‘work from home if you can’ as infection rates have started to spike across the country once again (Picture: EPA)

Boris Johnson has officially dropped the Government’s message to ‘go back to work’ in a bid to fight a second wave of coronavirus coming to the UK.

Brits have been told to ‘work from home if you can’ as infection rates have started to spike across the country once again.

Workers have been encouraged to return to the office since the beginning of August to help get the economy moving again.

The change is the latest in a long line of U-turns made by the Government in the face of the pandemic, including the wearing of face coverings and altering A-level results.

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Speaking in the Commons at lunchtime, the PM said: ‘We’re not issuing a general instruction to stay at home, we will ensure that schools, colleagues and universities stay open because nothing is more important than the education, health and wellbeing of our young people.

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‘We will ensure that businesses can stay open in a Covid compliant way, however we must take action to suppress the disease.

‘We are once again asking office workers who can work from home to do so in key public services where working from home is not possible.

‘In construction and retail, people should continue to attend their workplaces and like Government, this house will be free to take forward its business in a Covid-secure way.’

Rush hour had started to return – but that may no longer be the case (Picture: PA)

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove told Sky News this morning there will be a ‘shift in emphasis’ in the Government’s working from home advice.

Speaking ahead of today’s statement, Mr Gove said: ‘They are reluctant steps that we’re taking, but they’re absolutely necessary because as we were reminded yesterday and as you’ve been reporting, the rate of infection is increasing, the number of people going to hospital is increasing, therefore we need to act.’

The new rule comes as one of a package of measures to tackle soaring numbers of Covid-19 cases across the country.

Mr Johnson also said pubs, restaurants and other venues must close by 10pm in a strict new curfew put in place for the hospitality sector.

The Government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance warned in a briefing yesterday the UK could see 50,000 cases and 200 deaths a day within a few weeks if the current rate of infection is not halted.

Chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty hinted that social lives may need to be curbed to prevent coronavirus spiralling out of control, saying there was a need to ‘break unnecessary links’ between households.

The coronavirus alert level for the UK has also moved up from 3 to 4 for the first time since June, meaning the virus is spreading rapidly and exponentially through the population.

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