Boris Johnson unveils new ‘hands, face, space, get a test’ Covid-19 slogan

31 July 2020, 14:48

Boris Johnson announces delay to lockdown easing

By Maddie Goodfellow

The government's new coronavirus slogan has received a mixed reaction on social media, with some saying it is "making this up as it goes along".

The Prime Minister unveiled his new catchphrase - "hands, face, space, get a test" - as he announced that the government wants to "keep advice issued as simple as possible".

It comes after the Government was accused of creating confusion around new rules issued late on Thursday for parts of northern England.

At a press conference on Friday, Mr Johnson said: "The only real utensil we have (in) controlling the spread of this new virus is human behaviour, and the only way we can encourage people to behave in one way or the other is through advice.

"And so you're totally right, we need to keep it as simple as we possibly can and that's why, to sum it up in a nutshell, is: hands, face, space.

"Wash your hands, cover your face in the settings that we had mentioned and keep your distance from other people where you don't know them, you're coming into contact with them for the first time, and of course get a test and self-isolate if you have symptoms.

"I hope that was pretty... you know, that was pretty punchy I think - hands, face, space, and get a test.

"I think everybody can more or less remember that."

However, the slogan has received mixed reaction on social media, with some users branding it "confusing" and "made up on the spot".

One wrote: "More confusing government slogans."

Another said: "He's clearly making it up on the spot."

A third critic accused the government of "constantly trying to reduce complex advice to three-word slogans."

The slogan has also been compared to the children's song "Head, shoulders, knees and toes" and Donald Trump's now infamous "man, woman, person, camera, TV" comment.

One twitter user commented: "Listening to Boris Johnson trying to compose a punchy kids song - hands face face face arms get a test (sing a long). Sounds like they're making it up as they go along."

One person simply tweeted the clip with the altered phrase: "Hands. Face. Space. Camera. TV."

Mr Johnson and his Government have often attempted to use snappy phrases to get their messages across.

In March, people were told to wash their hands whilst singing happy birthday, while the "stay at home" messaging was used during the early months of the pandemic before being dropped for "stay alert".

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson also said that despite progress being made in combating the virus, the UK cannot think that it is exempt from a rise in cases.

He said: "I've also consistently warned that this virus could come back and that we would not hesitate to take swift and decisive action as required.

"I'm afraid that in parts of Asia and in Latin America, the virus is gathering pace and some of our European friends are also struggling to keep it under control.

"As we see these rises around the world, we can't fool ourselves that we are exempt. We must be willing to react to the first signs of trouble."

James O'Brien reviews Boris Johnson's 'Hands, face, space' slogan

The Prime Minister told the Downing Street press conference on Friday that the nation "must squeeze the brakes" on lifting lockdown measures.

It means casinos, bowling alleys, skating rinks and indoor performances will not be free to restart as planned from tomorrow.

He said the easing of restrictions would now be postponed until 15 August, but reminded people this would remain under review.

Chief Medical Officer for England Professor Chris Whitty appeared alongside the prime minister, warning the UK has potentially reached a limit for how much of society can be opened up.

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson explained that the prevalence of Covid-19 in the community is likely to be rising for the first time since May.

It means face masks and coverings will now be mandatory in indoor settings where people are likely to come into contact with people they do not know, such as museums and places of worship, from 8 August.