April 27, 2020 / 10:16 AM / a month ago

Britain offers people the chance to ask ministers coronavirus questions

LONDON, April 27 (Reuters) - Britain’s government will give a member of the public the chance to ask ministers, scientific and medical officers a question at its daily briefing on its fight against the novel coronavirus, it said on Monday.

Just hours after Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised to give the public “the maximum possible transparency” over ministers’ thinking over measures to ease the coronavirus lockdown, the government asked the public to get involved.

“The government will answer one question from a member of the public at the daily coronavirus (COVID-19) press conference,” it said in a statement.

It said anyone could apply on the www.gov.uk/ask website as long as they were over 18 years old and that the question would be reviewed at midday on the day of the press conference. Only one question would be selected each day and if selected, the person will be contacted by 3 p.m. (1400 GMT)

The government has been criticised by opposition parties and some businesses for not setting out how and when it will ease an economic and social lockdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus, with some suggesting Britain was falling behind other countries in its response.

On Monday, Johnson said he could not spell out now “how fast or slow or even when those changes will be made”, but added: “I want to serve notice now that these decisions will be taken with the maximum possible transparency and I want to share all our working and our thinking, my thinking, with you the British people.” (Reporting by Elizabeth Piper; editing by Sarah Young)

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