Boris Johnson has consistently told people to wash their hands as a means to prevent infection from Coronavirus. He even suggested that we should sing "happy birthday to you" whilst washing our hands in order to ensure the job was done thoroughly. Each time the message was changed, "hands" was first on the list.
On the 19th, the roadmap out of restrictions will enter phase 4. Basically, all restrictions will be lifted; no requirement to wear facemasks; no need to observe social distancing; pubs, cinemas, nightclubs, theatres and sporting events can be fully open. The only caveats seem to be that, if you have symptoms - you should get a test, if you test positive - you must isolate.
Since, the roadmap was drawn up though, infections in the UK have risen exponentially. Although hospitalisations and deaths have not gone up at the same pace, they have still increased. Many experts, including leading members of SAGE, have cautioned the Government to reconsider just how far to go with removing restrictions or indeed whether to remove restrictions at all.
Last night, the PM lead a briefing where the public were told that Phase 4 would go ahead as planned on the 19th July. He did however throw a note of caution about people rushing out to celebrate.
That note of caution was repeated several times by Professor Chris Whittie who seemed to be less than enthusiastic about the whole business. It was always clear that restrictions would have to be lifted sometime and now was possibly better than waiting until Autumn when flu and other respiratory diseases would be around. However, Whittie stressed over and again that people should be very, very cautious. Because you can socialise as much as you want to doesn't mean you should. Because you don't have to wear a face mask doesn't mean you shouldn't.
The example of public transport was given as one area where it would be advisable to wear a mask. I would say that there are plenty of other situations where a mask would also be a sensible idea e.g. seeing 60,000 people at Wembley, many without masks, makes me think that the risk of infection at large gatherings is likely higher than on a bus or train.
What the PM has actually done is shift responsibility. If infections rise and another wave occurs, it will be the fault of the public for not acting cautiously. Boris Johnson has now effectively washed his hands and those of his government of the whole business. Everything now relies on the common sense of the people - good move Johnson, I'm sure it will all be fine.