Britain delays easing of lockdown as virus spread speeds up

Britain delays easing of lockdown as virus spread speeds up

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. One day we are trying to lift the lockdown, the next we are trying to do the opposite, and the public are now rightfully confused.

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".

- The ONS reported an increase in the number of people testing positive for coronavirus in England, with Mr Johnson saying the prevalence of the virus in the community is likely to be rising for the first time since May.

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.

Following a spike in Covid-19 cases, visiting people at home has been banned in parts of northern England as well as rules on face coverings being extended to more indoor settings, including museums and places of worship. A number above 1 means the virus will spread exponentially.

- Muslim leaders criticised the Government for the "shockingly short notice" of the new restrictions in parts of northern England, announced the night before the Islamic festival of Eid.

"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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The abrupt halt to the unwind and the imposition of stricter restrictions on more than 4 million people were the biggest reversal to date in Britain's path out of lockdown.

He told the BBC that "one of the bad things about this virus is it thrives on the sort of social contact that makes life worth living".

However, despite initial confusion, business events for up to 30 people are allowed to take place.

Opposition politicians supported the latest move but criticized the government for announcing the restrictions in a tweet from Hancock late Thursday, just two hours before they came into force at midnight.

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

As the world grapples with a possible second wave, Johnson said the virus was gathering pace in Asia and Latin America while continental Europe was struggling to keep it under control.

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