Boris Johnson calls for 'patience' over 'complex' virus message

Boris Johnson has called for “patience” from the public over “complex” lockdown measures, as a new poll shows that a growing number disapprove of his government’s handling of coronavirus for the first time.
Boris Johnson has called for patience from the British public.Boris Johnson has called for patience from the British public.
Boris Johnson has called for patience from the British public.

Writing in the Mail on Sunday, the Prime Minister said he was backing the British public's “fortitude and common sense” to help the country recover from the pandemic.

However he also acknowledged frustrations over his government’s plans for emerging from lockdown, after a row over confused messaging, divergence over lockdown between the four UK nations, the push to have English schools reopen and increasing numbers of people back on public transport as workplaces reopen.

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An Opinium survey released this weekend showed public dissatisfaction with Mr Johnsons’ response to Covid-19 had overtaken approval for the first time.

The poll urvey found that only 39 per cent of Brits approve of the UK government's response - down from 48 per cent a week ago. Those saying they disapproved rose from 36 per cent to 42 per cent.

The Prime Minister said he could “understand people will feel frustrated with some of the new rules” but urged people to remain patient so that the country “does not risk reversing the gains we have so far won in the fight against the virus”.

“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,” he wrote.

“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.

“If we all stick at it, then we'll be able, gradually, to get rid of the complexities and the restrictions... but we must move slowly, and at the right time.”

His language around “British common sense” will likely further infuriate the government’s in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland who have all kept lockdown restrictions in place.

The Opinium poll of 2,005 adults was conducted last Wednesday and Thursday. Adam Drummond, the head of political polling at Opinium, said it was the first time disapproval of the Government's handling of the crisis was higher than approval.

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