Boris Johnson unveiled the government’s third attempt at a tripartite coronavirus slogan on Friday – and he may have taken inspiration from Catalonia in Spain.

There are some very simple ways we can all protect ourselves and others from the spread of coronavirus.

Wash your hands, cover your face & make space. #HandsFaceSpace pic.twitter.com/C1RHeRVvcr

The prime minister, who at the start of the pandemic discussed shaking hands with patients on hospital visits, introduced it by explaining that “hands” was about encouraging people to continue with regular hand-washing.

Having waited longer than many other nations to recommend face coverings, the prime minister said “face” meant masks are an integral part of the response to the pandemic. And “space” means ensuring social distancing, even as the government encourages workers to return to offices if it is safe to do so.

Although it is unclear who came up with the saying, it bears more than a passing resemblance the Catalan government’s slogan: “Distància, mans, mascareta” – “Distance, hands, mask”.

In March, when Downing Street implemented a near-total lockdown of England, the introduction of the slogan: “Stay At Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives” won plaudits for its simplicity.

As the first wave of infections began to drop and amid government concerns that attempts to restart the economy were faltering, a change was needed to encourage the public out of their homes. In May it was altered to: “Stay Alert, Control the Virus, Save Lives”.

No 10 has invested heavily in polling and focus groups to help it hone public messages, with the new slogan – which is already being rolled out across social media channels – likely to have been tested widely before being unveiled.

But it has collided with Monday’s formal roll-out of the chancellor Rishi Sunak’s “Eat Out To Help Out” slogan, developed by the Treasury to encourage people back into restaurants with heavy discounts. It remains to be seen which one will win the day.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

U.S. presents plan to drop duties on aluminum imports after Canada threatens retaliation

The U.S. Trade Representative’s office said today it’s poised to drop tariffs on Canadian aluminum imports — just hours before Canada was set to unveil counter-measures in retaliation. A statement from the USTR said that after consultations with the Canadian government, the…

Amy Coney Barrett hearings: Nominee to face supercharged atmosphere in the age of coronavirus

Joel Rubin and Brad Blakeman examine whether President Trump’s nominee faces new hurdles on her way to confirmation to the Supreme Court amid coronavirus outbreak. Twelve words. That’s how far former Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, got before…

Babymooning at Chevening, I’m bothered by an entry in Bozzie’s memoirs

So blessed! Neither of us went anywhere near the old trout but thanks to Dorries we can babymoon for another two weeks, just Bozzie and me – and our little chick! – and forget Cobra. And the media liars. What…

Boris Johnson told to keep ‘populist hands’ off judiciary

Boris Johnson has been told to keep his “populist hands” off the judiciary amid reports No 10 is set to fast-track an overhaul of the way legal challenges are brought against the government. In plans first floated at the 2019…