Plans to further ease lockdown measures in England scrapped, says PM

Plans to further ease lockdown measures in England scrapped, says PM

United Kingdom prime minister Boris Johnson has said his country must "squeeze the brake pedal" after seeing a "warning light" in the recent uptick of infections - as government scientists lost confidence that the COVID-19 reproduction rate was still below 1 in England.

Why it matters: The decision, which comes after a move to reimpose far more stringent lockdown measures across some cities in northern England, highlights the hard balance countries across the world face between reopening their economies and keeping their caseloads in check.

"We will of course study the data carefully and move forward with our intention to open up as soon as we possibly can", said Johnson.

Chief Medical Officer for England Professor Chris Whitty appeared alongside the prime minister, warning the United Kingdom has potentially reached a limit for how much of society can be opened up.

The government needed to act as fresh cases were being reported across Britain, where 1 in 1,500 reportedly had the virus compared to 1 in 1,800 on 15 July and 1 in 2,000 on 2 July, Mr Johnson said, citing Office of National Statistics estimates. Today, I am afraid we are postponing these changes for at least a fortnight.

"And I'm really, really sorry about that but we can not simply take the risk".

The government also urged anyone celebrating Eid al-Adha this weekend to "follow the new rules and protect the ones they love".

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As of Saturday, casinos, bowling alleys, skating rinks, and beauty parlors were all due to open, as were indoor performances and wedding receptions of up to 30 people. We know that employers have gone to huge lengths to make workplaces safe, so that guidance remains unchanged.

He also extended rules making face coverings compulsory in more indoor settings.

Mr Jonhson also announced that face coverings will become enforceable by law in more places including museums, cinemas and places of worship from August 8.

"I don't want to tell people to spend less time with their friends".

The new rules, which also apply to the city of Leicester in the East Midlands, allow people from these neighborhoods to still go to bars and pubs, but "two households should not go to hospitality together".

"The way to get there and to achieve that optimum outcome is if we all follow the rules, wash our hands, cover our faces, keep our distance - and get a test if we have symptoms, so that NHS Test and Trace can keep the virus under control".

"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".

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