23 September 2020 12:32
Workers who can work from home should do so, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said, in an attempt to curb the recent surge in coronavirus cases. Mr Johnson added that people who are not able to do their job from home, such as those employed in construction and hospitality, should continue going into their workplace. As lockdown restrictions eased in early summer some employees reported feeling pressured into returning to the office and experts fear they may experience similar pressure to continue coming into their workplace. Liz McGlone of Bindmans, another legal firm, said: "Your employer should not be forcing you back into the workplace unless there is a business requirement to do so such as on site work which needs to be done in accordance with your job description. Boris Johnson has confirmed that people should work from home if they can in a statement to the House of Commons today.
In key public services and in all professions where home working is not possible such as construction or retail, people should continue to attend their workplaces." It follows weeks of the government urging people back to the workplace and comes as the coronavirus alert level was upgraded from three to four, meaning a high or rising level of virus transmission. Professor Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance, chief medical officer and chief scientific adviser, yesterday said the number of coronavirus cases in the UK is currently doubling around every seven days warning that, if that continues, there could be as much as 50,000 cases per day by mid-October. Michael Gove, cabinet office minister, said this morning that there was evidence that early closing had brought benefits in local areas where it had already been in place. Speaking about the tightening of Covid-19 restrictions to Sky News, he said there would be a "shift in emphasis" and that "if it is possible for people to work from home, they should do so". He added: "They are reluctant steps that we're taking, but they're absolutely necessary because as we were reminded yesterday and as you've been reporting, the rate of infection is increasing, the number of people going to hospital is increasing, therefore we need to act." The public in England will once again be asked to work from home if they can, Michael Gove has said, signalling a U-turn in government advice to combat the spread of coronavirus that he said could help "avert the need for more serious action in the future".
Michael Gove told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We are stressing that if it is safe to work in your workplace, if you are in a Covid secure workplace, then you should be there if your job requires it. The Government's call for people to work from home where they can, will come as a blow for cafes and other businesses which rely on commuters and office workers. Mr Gove stated that it was not a case of "revisiting the days at the beginning of our response to this virus" as "workplaces are safer", adding: "But one of the risks that we have to face is that social mixing overall contributes to the spread of the virus. The new workplace advice comes after the Government's chief scientific and medical advisers painted a grim picture of how there could be 50,000 cases a day by mid-October with a daily death toll of 200 or more by mid-November if the current growth in the rate of infection is not halted. 'Work from home if you can': Government changes advice to curb spread of Covid-19 in the UK Michael Gove said anyone who has to go into work to do their jobs should do so, but all those to can work from home are advised to stay away from the office People have been asked to return to working from home if they can in an effort to restrict the spread of coronavirus.