First it was “stay at home” – nice and clear.
Then it was “stay alert, control the virus” – less clear.
Now we’re being told to “hands, face, space – get a test” by the Prime Minister.
Boris Johnson unveiled the new rhyming slogan today during a Downing Street press conference as data revealed cases are now rising in England.
The PM cancelled planned reopenings from tomorrow,made face masks compulsory in church from August 8, and imposed regional restrictions on meeting other households in large swathes of northern England.
But it seems not everyone online appreciated the PM’s new message in such a grave situation.
It comes after the Government was accused of creating confusion around new rules issued late on Thursday for parts of northern England.
Chaos reigned after people in the whole of Greater Manchester, and parts of East Lancashire and West Yorkshire, were told they could no longer meet people from another household indoors.
The ban – which took effect from midnight at three hours’ notice – includes all indoor settings, be they private homes or pubs, as well as private gardens.
Not even some local public health directors knew about the announcement until Matt Hancock made it in a short video clip after 9pm.
A government Q&A on the changes was only published at 22 minutes past midnight. And while people will be fined £100 for breaking the rules, the law to enforce this doesn’t yet exist.
Yet Health Secretary Mr Hancock today bizarrely claimed the rules were “crystal clear”.
And Mr Johnson introduced his new slogan into the mix when he stood up to speak in No10.
The PM said: “The only real utensil we have (in) controlling the spread of this new virus is human behaviour.
“The only way we can encourage people to behave in one way or the other is through advice.
“And so you’re totally right, we need to keep it as simple as we possibly can and that’s why, to sum it up in a nutshell, is: hands, face, space.
“Wash your hands, cover your face in the settings that we had mentioned and keep your distance from other people where you don’t know them, you’re coming into contact with them for the first time, and of course get a test and self-isolate if you have symptoms.
“I hope that was pretty… you know, that was pretty punchy I think – hands, face, space, and get a test.
“I think everybody can more or less remember that.”
Not everyone on Twitter agreed.
“Hands, Face, Space, Get a Test sounds like a tragic short story about a one night stand gone wrong,” said Twitter user Jack Duncan.
Alex Andreou complained: “No, it wasn’t [punchy].
“And perhaps constantly trying to reduce complex advice to three-word slogans is part of the problem.”
Jon Worth wrote: “Is “hands, face, space” an actual slogan from Johnson’s government? Or some kind of a spoof? I’ve lost the ability to tell the difference. Maybe I’m just not staying alert enough…”
Other Twitter users shared pictures of Mr Bean and set the slogan to the rhythm of Heads, Shoulders Knees and Toes.
But perhaps the most flattering – or embarrassing – comparison was to Donald Trump.
Last week the President tried to describe a memory test he took, blurting out the words: “Person, woman, man, camera, TV.”