'What the hell is 'stay alert' supposed to mean?' - JK Rowling reacts to PM's pandemic slogan

The author has criticised the Prime Minister’s new pandemic message.

Sunday, 10th May 2020, 11:10 am
Updated Sunday, 10th May 2020, 11:25 am

The Government's new slogan for the next phase in the fight against coronavirus has drawn a lot of scorn.

After the successful bluntness of the shutdown message of "stay at home, save lives, protect the NHS", Britons are now set to be asked to "stay alert, control the virus, save lives".

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J.K Rowling. Picture: John Phillips/Getty Images.

Top-selling Harry Potter author JK Rowling immediately hit out by saying: "Is Coronavirus sneaking around in a fake moustache and glasses? If we drop our guard, will it slip us a Micky Finn? What the hell is 'stay alert' supposed to mean?"

Andy Burnham, the Labour Mayor of Greater Manchester, tweeted that it "feels to me like a mistake to me to drop the clear" stay at home message.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to unveil a coronavirus warning system when he outlines his plans to gradually ease the lockdown while dropping the "stay home" slogan.

He is set to outline his "road map" to a new normality during an address to the nation tonight.

Scotland's First Minister saying she would be sticking with the current "stay home" message north of the border, revealing she had only learned of the slogan through the Sunday papers.

Mr Johnson is planning to urge workers who cannot do their jobs from home to begin returning to their workplaces while following social-distancing rules.

Dave Ward, general secretary of the Communication Workers Union, said: "The messaging from this Government throughout this crisis has been a total joke, but their new slogan takes it to a new level."

He wondered: "Stay alert? It's a deadly virus not a zebra crossing."

Writer and comedian Adam Kay added that it would be "difficult to stay alert to something that's 0.0001 millimetres in diameter. This pandemic is going to have as many spikes as a coronavirus".