Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 27 November 2020

Boris Johnson apologises for muddling up his own covid rules

UK PM was attempting to explain restrictions on when households can meet up

Boris Johnson was unable to explain his own virus restrictions for the north-east of England. AFP
Boris Johnson was unable to explain his own virus restrictions for the north-east of England. AFP

Boris Johnson apologised today after getting the detail wrong on his own coronavirus restrictions.

The British prime minister said he “misspoke” when answering a question on new rules which came into force in parts of north-east England overnight.

It came on the day the UK recorded the highest number of coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic with 7,143 cases reported in the last 24 hours.

A total of 71 deaths were also recorded - the highest since July 1.

Mr Johnson was talking about new coronavirus restrictions to curb the latest spike when he answered a question wrong.

Asked whether people from different households in the north-east could still meet in a pub garden, he replied by talking about the rule of six.

He said: “In the North East and other areas where extra tight measures have been brought in, you should follow the guidance of local authorities.

"It's six in a home or six in hospitality but as I understand it, not six outside."

Official guidance for the north-east actually warns people against mixing between households in pub gardens and outdoor restaurants.

The rule of six also bans more than half a dozen people from meeting both indoors and outdoors.

Mr Johnson later admitted on Twitter that he was wrong.

He tweeted: “Apologies, I misspoke today. In the North East, new rules mean you cannot meet people from different households in social settings indoors, including in pubs, restaurants and your home. You should also avoid socialising with other households outside.

“This is vital to control the spread of coronavirus and keep everyone safe. If you are in a high risk area, please continue to follow the guidelines from local authorities.”

Labour said Mr Johnson was "grossly incompetent" for not knowing the rules.

Deputy leader Angela Rayner said: "These new restrictions are due to come into force across huge parts of the country tonight.

"The government needs to get a grip."

Shadow justice secretary David Lammy said Mr Johnson's "incompetence" was "putting British lives at risk".

Earlier, Mr Johnson was asked whether he could reassure his worried MPs that he had fully recovered from coronavirus after being admitted to hospital in April.

“I am fitter than a butcher’s dog thanks basically to losing weight,” he said, agreeing that the phenomenon of “long Covid” clearly existed.

“I hesitate to give anybody any advice but losing weight is a very good thing to do when you reach 17st 6lbs (110.7kg), as I did at the height of about 5ft 10in (177.8cm), it’s probably a good idea to lose weight and so that’s what I’ve done. I feel much, much better.”

Updated: September 30, 2020 03:37 AM

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