Boris Johnson confused by his own coronavirus rules

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on a visit to Exeter College in Exeter, England, on September 29, 2020 | Pool photo by Finbarr Webster/AFP via Getty Images

Boris Johnson confused by his own coronavirus rules

British PM had to correct himself after press conference gaffe.


9/29/20, 4:25 PM CET

Boris Johnson appeared confused by his own coronavirus rules on Tuesday.

Responding to a question about new restrictions in England’s northeast, Johnson wrongly stated that the rule-of-six restriction on gatherings did not apply when meeting people outdoors.

“It is six in a home or in hospitality but not six outside,” he said, directly contradicting the official guidance, which indicates “you must not meet in a group of more than six, indoors or outdoors.”

Johnson later apologized, tweeting that he “misspoke.”

The muddled message came hours after one of Johnson’s government ministers failed to explain the new restrictions in England’s northeast during a morning media round. The new restrictions, the harshest introduced since the lockdown earlier this year, were outlined on Monday by Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

While the new northeast measures ban by law people mixing with other households indoors and in gardens, it was unclear if this would apply to outdoor hospitality settings. Gillian Keegan, the minister for skills, told the BBC she wasn’t “an expert” and couldn’t clarify whether it would apply.

“I don’t represent the northeast” she added. As a junior government education minister, Keegan represents the whole of England.

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner lambasted Johnson and the government for failing to provide clarity,

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