Government urges people to work from home in huge U-turn

Millions of people are being urged to work from home again in a massive government U-turn.

Last month Prime Minister Boris Johnson encouraged people to return to their workplaces, amid fears that town centres would collapse without office workers to support the economy.

But now the message has changed as coronavirus cases continue to rise across the UK.

Today Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove said there was going to be a "shift in emphasis" on the Government's advice about working from home.

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He told Sky News: "If it is possible for people to work from home then we would encourage them to do so."

Michael Gove said the Government was taking "reluctant steps" with the new coronavirus measure s, but added that they are "absolutely necessary".

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He said: "There will be more details that the Prime Minister will spell out, and again, one of the points that he'll make is that no one wants to do these things, no one wants to take these steps.

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"They are reluctant steps that we're taking, but they are 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, and therefore we need to act."

Tonight Boris Johnson is due to address the nation in a special broadcast.

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As cases continue to rise across the country and Europe, Mr Johnson will outline measures for the hospitality sector which have already been announced for many areas in England.

Merseyside will be subject to the new measures from midnight on Tuesday but similar rules will come into place everywhere from Thursday.

Among the rules being rolled out to the whole of England will be restrictions on pubs, bars and restaurants.

Number 10 confirmed that the following restrictions will come into play on Thursday:

  • Boris Johnson will confirm all pubs, bars, restaurants and other hospitality in England will be required to close by 10pm from this Thursday
  • The Prime Minister will also say the hospitality sector will be restricted by law to table service only

Cabinet will meet on Tuesday morning ahead of the Prime Minister setting out the changes in a statement to Parliament.

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He will also bring together the COBRA committee with Cabinet Ministers and First Ministers to discuss the surge in cases.

Mr Johnson will make an address to the nation later in the day on further ways we will confront the virus in line with the latest scientific advice, and the role everyone can continue to play in tackling the spread, including by following the social distancing guidance, wearing face coverings and washing hands regularly.

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