The background is obvious. I'm really curious about the wording. In particular, UK told that staying home this weekend is 'not a request'. To me, it sounds like loosening restriction, in an unofficial way. I don't follow British politics that much so forgive me if I'm missing the obvious. What's the deal here?
I'm not venturing a speculation here (yet) whether that was a loosening (of the language) or not relative to prior communications on this matter, but the fuller context of that recent statement is:
Mr Hancock - who recently ended his seven days of self-isolation after contracting the virus - said: "We cannot relax our discipline now. If we do, people will die.
"I end with the advice we all know. This advice is not a request - it is an instruction.
"Stay at home, protect lives and then you will be doing your part."
[BBC subheading:] 'Stay at home for nurses'
Ms May also appealed to the public to stay at home, saying: "This weekend is going to be very warm and it will be very tempting to go out and enjoy those summer rays.
"But please, I ask to remember Aimee and Areema. Please stay at home for them."
Aimee and Areema are two (young) nurses who recently died after contracting the new coronavirus.
The Evening Standard has chosen to headline that announcement as
Matt Hancock orders Brits not to break coronavirus lockdown during weekend heatwave: If we relax our discipline people will die
The Telegraph headlined their youtube video of that press conference with
‘Good weather no excuse to break coronavirus social distancing rules’, says Matt Hancock
So a reasonable-enough interpretation seems to be that it's not a relaxation of the prior government stance. I don't know if some left-wing press has tried to spin this into something else. I've searched a bit but couldn't find such attempts/articles, so "it's probably just you[r interpretation]".
To me, it sounds like loosening restriction,
To almost all British people this change in wording is a tightening of the restriction.
Staying at home this weekend is an instruction and "not a request", Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said,
In British usage, a request is what you pass to someone who has the power to comply or refuse at their own discretion. An instruction is like an order passed to a subordinate or to someone who is not given any discretion over whether or not to comply.
The Cambridge dictionary says
Request: the act of politely or officially asking for something
Instruction: something that someone tells you to do.
So it is a similar difference to asking someone to do something or telling them to do it.