Thursday, 06 August, 2020


Johnson postpones easing of coronavirus restrictions in England as cases rise

A coronavirus safety guideline is seen on the door of a mosque in Rochdale greater Manchester A coronavirus safety guideline is seen on the door of a mosque in Rochdale greater Manchester
Bennie Garza | 01 August, 2020, 11:53

The prime minister said on Friday that plans to bring back indoor performances, weddings of parties up to 30, and pilots of outdoor sports events with spectators, would be pushed back to 15 August instead of Saturday.

Johnson said statistics showed that the prevalence of COVID-19 in the community is likely increasing, with an estimated 4,900 new infections every day, up from 2,000 a day at the end of June.

Addressing the nation from Downing Street, the prime minister promised to keep looking at the national situation and noted that the country should now "squeeze the brake pedal" to keep the Covid-19 outbreak under control.

"I've said throughout the pandemic that there would be fresh outbreaks", Johnson said at a news conference, the morning after his government tightened restrictions for four million people across a swathe of northern England.

Measures due to be lifted on Saturday, including allowing small wedding receptions and reopening bowling alleys and casinos, have been postponed for at least two weeks.

Moreover, as of Aug, 8, facial masks will be compulsory in galleries, cinemas, and places of worship.

Dr Simon Clarke, associate professor of cellular microbiology at the University of Reading, said: "The intervention to keep certain lockdown restrictions that were due to be eased should be seen as an alternative to going back to a full nationwide lockdown like we saw in March". A number above 1 means the virus will spread exponentially.

"However, we understand the reasons the government has made this decision, and remain ready to work with them to ensure supporters can safely return to stadiums when government advice allows".

This latest setback places further uncertainly on when crowds will be allowed to attend larger sporting events.

The announcement comes the day after some lockdown restrictions were re-introduced in the North West of England.

"I know that the steps we are taking will be a real blow to many people".

The new rules, which came into effect from midnight, also ban members of two different households from mixing in pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues, but these businesses will remain open for those visiting individually or from the same household. On Thursday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned about "a second wave of coronavirus that's starting to roll across Europe".

Britain's official coronavirus death toll stands at just over 46,000, the third-highest total in the world after the United States and Brazil.

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