Monday, 03 August, 2020

Boris Johnson postpones August lockdown easing for two weeks

A man and his children wear masks in Hanoi Vietnam A man and his children wear masks in Hanoi Vietnam Credit REUTERS Kham
Deanna Wagner | 01 August, 2020, 09:56

He added: "That means that until 15 August, at the earliest, venues, bowling alleys, casinos, skating rinks and other close-contact settings must remain closed".

"Our assessment is that we should now squeeze that brake pedal in order to keep the virus under control".

Face coverings will now be mandatory in museums, galleries, cinemas and places of worship, with a greater police presence to ensure compliance.

The decision to row back on the easing of lockdown came after the Prime Minister was shown data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on Wednesday night which revealed a rise in Covid-19 infections.

- Data released on Friday showed the R value for the United Kingdom is between 0.8 to 0.9, a slight rise from 0.7 to 0.9.

This is up from an estimated 2,800 new cases a day in the previous week.

- It was confirmed sports events such as the snooker World Championships in Sheffield and the horseracing at Glorious Goodwood in West Sussex this weekend will now go ahead without fans.

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- The decision to postpone plans to allow indoor performances was described as a "bitter blow for the music industry".

Health Secretary Matt Hancock also announced in a tweet on Thursday that the government planned to increase lockdown measures in parts of northern England, including Blackburn, Burnley, Hyndburn, Pendle and Rossendale.

Under the new restrictions, people from different households in Greater Manchester, England's second largest metropolitan area, have been asked to not meet indoors.

"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", he said.

"But we have to be realistic about this". The idea that we can open up everything is clearly wrong. He said the government must do everything it can to protect British citizens.

The guidance for employers is also changing to give firms "more discretion over how employees can work safely, whether by continuing to work from home, or attending a Covid-secure workplace", Mr Johnson said.

"I know that the steps we are taking will be a real blow to many people, to everyone whose wedding plans have been disrupted or who can not now celebrate Eid in the way that they would wish and I'm really, really sorry about that but we can not simply take the risk", he said.