Nick Ferrari pushes Matt Hancock to clarify "strange" lockdown rules for seeing family

12 May 2020, 08:50 | Updated: 12 May 2020, 09:23

By Fiona Jones

Nick Ferrari pushed Health Secretary Matt Hancock to answer why some of the social distancing rules have been put into place.

The Prime Minister released updated lockdown guidelines on Monday, allowing people to see one member from outside their household in a public place as long as social distancing is maintained.

Nick Ferrari asked Health Secretary Matt Hancock why he could see one parent at a two metre distance, they would have to get back in the car and then he could see another parent at a two metre distance.

Mr Hancock responded that seeing people outside is much less risky than seeing people inside as "the scientists have found the transmission outside is much lower than inside" and the reason for only seeing one person is to prevent groups gathering outside.

"The principle that you can see one other person does take into account the yearning that many people understandably have to see a relative at two metres," he said, stating he'd rather be criticised for being too cautious than to "let go of the virus."

As two people have been permitted to meet outside providing they stay two metres apart since the beginning of lockdown, "in a way it is just a restatement of that", he said.

Nick Ferrari pushes Matt Hancock to clarify rules on seeing family
Nick Ferrari pushes Matt Hancock to clarify rules on seeing family. Picture: PA

"It is also really clear that if we'd said any more than that, suddenly you're into groups and there are risks. We want to keep this virus under control," Matt Hancock said.

Nick asked whether the chief medical advisors signed off on the new slogan "Stay Alert".

"They're involved in all of the decisions," Mr Hancock replied.

"So they did sign off on this actual wording?" Nick asked again.

"Yes I remember the meeting very carefully, we were all in that meeting when the slogan was presented. But actually the slogan was worked on with a lot of input from ordinary people and listening to what people understood and responded to. People get it, they get it," he told Nick.

Nick remarked that they don't seem to get it in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland where the message "Stay at Home" is being maintained.

The Health Secretary said the R (infection) rate is higher in Wales and Scotland "so that is a decision for their governments locally."

Nick asked if a father could employ his son as a cleaner so they could see each other and the Health Secretary reiterated that "people should apply common sense" - the reason cleaners are permitted is "so they can make ends meet."