Further removal of lock-in restrictions in England ̵1; due to arrive this weekend – has been postponed for at least two weeks, after an increase in coronavirus cases.
Casinos and bowling alleys will remain closed, as Boris Johnson said it was time to “squeeze the brake pedal”.
Masks will be mandatory in more interior settings, such as cinemas.
England’s chief medical officer, Prof Chris Whitty, has warned the UK could hit its limits on avoiding restrictions.
Appearing next to the prime minister in a special descent on Downing Street, Prof Whitty said the “idea that we can open everything up and maintain virus control” was wrong.
Asked if it was safe for English schools to fully open all students in the fall, he said it was a “difficult balancing act” but “perhaps we have reached close to the limit, or limits, of what can we do in terms of opening up society. “
Speaking at the briefing, Mr. Johnson said that planned changes to the guidelines for pandemic shelters, and advice for employers, will continue.
Rethinking to avoid locking England follows new restrictions for people in parts of northern England, after an attack on virus cases.
The prime minister said progress in dealing with coronavirus was ongoing, with daily and weekly deaths falling, but warned that some European countries were “struggling” to control it. The UK must be ready to “retaliate”, he said.
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Figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on Friday suggest rising rates of infection in England, with nearly 4,200 new infections a day – compared to 3,200 a week.
ONS estimates in day-to-day cases – based on a sample of households that have completed swab tests – are higher than the numbers for lab-confirmed cases reported by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) because they include people without symptoms who have not otherwise applied for a test.
Highlighting the ONS figures, Mr. Johnson added: “The spread of the virus in the community, in England, is likely to increase for the first time since May.”
He said that with “crawling numbers” it was time to “squeeze the brake pedal to maintain control over the virus”.
He urged people to “follow the rules, wash our hands, cover our faces, keep our distance – and get a test if we have symptoms”, which divided the advice with the slogan: ” Hands, face, space, take a test “.
An additional 120 people died along with Covid-19 in the UK according to the latest DHSC figures, bringing the total number of virus deaths to 46,119. Meanwhile, 880 new cases have been confirmed in the lab.
Cases in England have been rising for the first time since May.
Data from the ONS suggests that there are nearly 4,200 new infections a day compared to 3,200 a week.
It did not return to the height of the epidemic in March, but it does say.
Every restriction we alleviate increases the ability of the coronavirus to spread, and government scientist advisers have always warned that there is no room to raise restrictions and still prevent it.
An uptick on infections is a warning that we may have passed the lockdown lifting limit.
That is why Boris Johnson delayed some of the planned lifting of restrictions in England and face masks will become more frequent sight.
The big question remains around schools. If current policies lead to an increase in cases, can we open schools as well? If we open schools do we have to close others?
It is worth noting that all this happens in July and scientists suspect that the virus spreads more easily in the winter months.
You can read more from James here.
Mr. Johnson said the planned opening of “higher risk settings” on August 1 will be delayed for at least once.
This means that the following will not be available until August 15, at the earliest:
- the reopening of casinos, bowling allys, skating rinks and outstanding close contact services
- internal presentation
pilots of larger gatherings in sports venues and conference centers
- expanding wedding receptions to allow up to 30 people
beauty treatments that involve the face, such as eyelash, eyebrow and thread treatments
Fans attended the World Snooker Championship when it began on Friday as part of a pilot to try to bring back a larger squad to the sports grounds. The contest will continue without spectators until at least August 15, which is when the final scheduled to begin.
The marriage sector is ‘itching to get back’
Neil White, 51, from Chorley in Lancashire, owns a business getting married. Of the 44 weddings she has scheduled for this year, only three bookings remain. “I think I am speaking for the rest of the wedding industry with a great deal of concern and stress about the future,” he said.
Mr. White said that while businesses such as pubs and restaurants reopened, those in the wedding sector “seemed to be brushed under the carpet” even though they were “itching to get back to work”.
“If it continues next year there will be a lot of businesses going,” he added.
The British Beauty Council says the changes are “extremely frustrating for a sector that sees a delay after a reopening delay”.
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Separately, masks are forced into more internal settings where people are more likely to interact with people they do not know, such as museums and places of worship, from the next end of the week. They are now needed in stores, banks, airports and other internal vehicle hubs.
The prime minister said the rules for masks will be in force from August 8.
However, he said the plan to pause the shield for the most vulnerable to the virus will come first this coming Saturday.
This means that about 2.2 million people who separated themselves in England during the pandemic could return to work, if they could not work at home, as long as their workplace was safe Covid.
The guidance for employers will also change, as planned, from the beginning of August, Mr. Johnson said.
The latest announcement comes shortly after new lockdown policies were introduced in parts of northern England, including Greater Manchester, eastern Lancashire, and parts of West Yorkshire. The rules include a ban on separate households meeting with each other within their homes and private gardens.
The changes came as Muslim communities prepared to celebrate Eid this weekend, and almost four weeks after the restrictions were reduced across England – allowing people to meet in houses for the first time since late March.
Labor chief Sir Keir Starmer said the government had made the “right decision” regarding new policies for parts of northern England, but urged them to “improve” what he called “very difficult” communications.
Ministers said police forces and councils would be empowered to implement the new policies.
In other major developments:
- Pubs and restaurants in Leicester – which saw the UK’s first local lock – are set to open from Monday as a city restriction is lifted
- A 14-year-old girl is being treated for a life-threatening illness after her family was “extremely neglected” in the lockup. The Family Division of the High Court was asked to intervene to take care of the girl
Thousands of people descended on beaches in Bournemouth, Brighton and Poole, prompting some local councils to warn day-trippers to stay away.
- Tory MP Craig Whittaker defends his claim that some Muslims in West Yorkshire are “not taking the pandemic seriously”
Are you getting married this weekend? Or have you reopened your business? How will procrastination affect you? Share your experiences via email.
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