The further easing of lockdown restrictions in the UK ̵
Casinos and bowling alleys will remain closed as Boris Johnson said it was time to “squeeze the brake pedal”.
Facial clothing is mandatory in more indoor settings, e.g. Cinemas.
England’s chief medical officer, Prof. Chris Whitty, warned that the UK may have hit its limits for easing restrictions.
Performing with the Prime Minister at a special Downing Street briefing, Prof Whitty said, “the idea that we can open up to everything and keep the virus under control” is wrong.
Asked whether it was safe for England’s schools to fully open to all pupils in the autumn, he said it was a “difficult balancing act”, but “we have probably reached the limit or limits of what we can do in terms of opens up society. “
Speaking during the briefing, Mr Johnson said planned changes to the guidance for those who have been shielded during the pandemic, and advice to employers, will continue to happen.
The reconsideration of easing England’s closure follows new restrictions for people in parts of northern England following an increase in virus cases.
The prime minister said progress in tackling the coronavirus was continuing, with daily and weekly deaths falling, but warned that some European countries were “struggling” to control it. The UK must be prepared to “react”, he said.
- Manchester closure rules cause ‘confusion and distress’
- Lockdown increased in parts of England
Figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on Friday suggest that infection rates in the UK are rising by around 4,200 new infections a day – compared to 3,200 a week ago.
ONS ‘estimates of daily cases – based on a sample of households completing swab samples – are higher than the figures for laboratory-confirmed cases reported by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) because they include people without symptoms who would not otherwise have applied for a test.
Johnson highlighted the ONS figures, adding: “The spread of the virus in the community in England is likely to increase for the first time since May.”
He said that with “numbers creeping up” it was time to “squeeze this brake pedal to keep the virus under control”.
He urged people to “follow the rules, wash our hands, cover our faces, keep our distance – and get a test if we have symptoms”, summing up the advice with the slogan: “Hands, face, space, get a test”.
Another 120 people have died 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 laboratory-confirmed cases have been registered.
Cases in England are rising for the first time since May.
Data from ONS suggest that there are about 4,200 new infections a day compared to 3,200 a week ago.
This is not a return to the height of the March epidemic, but it tells.
Every restriction we ease increases the coronavirus’ ability to spread, and government scientific advisers have always warned that there was not much room for maneuver to lift the restrictions and still suppress it.
Uptick in infections is a warning that we may have already crossed the line to lift the lock.
Therefore, Boris Johnson has delayed some of the planned lifting of the restrictions in England, and face masks are becoming a more frequent sight.
The big question is still around schools. If the current rules lead to an increase in cases, can we also open schools? If we open schools, will we have to close something else?
It is worth noting that all of this is happening in July, and researchers suspect that the virus will spread even more easily during the winter months.
You can read more from James here.
Sir. Johnson said the planned reopening of “higher risk options” on Aug. 1 would be delayed for at least two weeks.
This means that the following can only take place before 15 August:
- reopening of casinos, bowling alleys, ice rinks and remaining close contact services
- indoor performances
pilots with larger gatherings in sports halls and conference centers
- the expansion of wedding receptions to accommodate 30 people
beauty treatments involving the face, such as eyelashes, eyebrows and threading treatments
Fans took part in the World Snooker Championship when it started on Friday as part of a pilot to test the return of larger crowds to sports venues. The tournament now takes place without spectators until at least August 15, which is when the final is scheduled to begin.
Wedding sector ‘itching to come back’
Neil White, 51, of Chorley, Lancashire, owns a wedding photography business. Of the 44 weddings he had planned for this year, only three bookings remain. “I think I speak for the rest of the wedding industry, as there is a huge amount of worry and stress about the future,” he said.
Sir. White said that although companies such as pubs and restaurants in have been able to reopen, they in the wedding sector seem to have been brushed under the rug, even though they “itch to get back to work”.
“If it continues until next year, there are many companies that will close,” he added.
The British Beauty Council said the changes were “very disappointing for a sector that has already seen delay after delay of reopening”.
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Separately, face clothing is mandatory in more indoor environments, where people are likely to come into contact with people they do not know, such as museums and places of worship, from next weekend. They are already required in stores, banks, airports and other indoor transportation hubs.
The Prime Minister said that the rules for face clothing could be enforced in the law from 8 August.
He said, however, that the plan to pause the screening for those most vulnerable to the virus will take place from Saturday.
This means that approx. 2.2 million people who have been self-isolating in England during the pandemic can return to work if they are unable to work from home as long as their workplace is Covid-safe.
Guidance for employers will also change as planned from early August, Mr Johnson said.
The latest announcement came shortly after new shutdown rules were introduced in parts of northern England, including Greater Manchester, east Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire. The rules include a ban on separate households meeting in their homes and private gardens.
The changes come as Muslim communities prepare to celebrate Eid over the weekend, and almost four weeks after restrictions were lifted across England – allowing people to meet indoors for the first time since late March.
Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer said the government had made the “right decision” regarding the new rules for parts of the north of England, but called on it to “improve” what he called “extremely poor” communication.
Ministers have said police forces and councils will be empowered to enforce the new rules.
In other important developments:
- Pubs and restaurants in Leicester – which saw Britain’s first local lockdown – are set to reopen from Monday as a number of city restrictions are lifted
- A 14-year-old girl is being treated for a life-threatening illness after being “severely neglected” by her family during lockdown. The family department of the Supreme Court has been asked to intervene to take the girl into care
Thousands of people fell on beaches in Bournemouth, Brighton and Poole, prompting some local councils to warn day trippers to stay away
- Tory MP Craig Whittaker has defended his claim that some Muslims in West Yorkshire “do not take the pandemic seriously”
Are you getting married this weekend? Or did you reopen your business? How will the postponement affect you? Share your experiences by emailing.
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