UK gov’t accused of risking lives with mixed messages as lockdown eases

London, May 11 (efe-epa).- The British prime minister was accused Monday of risking lives and sending mixed messages to the public as the United Kingdom started to ease its lockdown, despite having the second highest coronavirus death toll in the world and the third highest number of cases.

After addressing the nation in a televised speech on Sunday night, Boris Johnson unveiled his 51-page document in parliament detailing the phased de-escalation of the lockdown.

The first phase was described by Johnson as a “conditional plan” to reopen British society, but the leader has faced mounting criticism over his handling of the crisis and has been accused of creating confusion around his road map to reboot the country’s economy.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said: “It is obvious the last 24 hours have spread confusion” adding that “mixed messaging risks lives”.

Leader of the opposition Labour Party Keir Starmer said there was confusion over how the four UK nations would relax the measures in place.

“There is not consensus either on messaging now or on policy between the UK Government and those in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland,” Starmer said, warning this would lead to a real danger of divergence.

“There are lots of questions and so far precious few answers,” the Labour leader said. “The country does need clarity on this and people need reassurance. Above all else they need it in the next 48 hours, so can the PM please provide clarity.”

In his address on Sunday, Johnson had called on employees who are unable to work remotely to return to work on Monday, but to avoid using public transport.

The announcement came after the government’s previous advice had been to urge all people to only go to work if they had to.

“We now need to stress that anyone who can’t work from home, for instance those in construction or manufacturing, should be actively encouraged to go to work,” Johnson said.

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