Lockdown easing postponed as PM 'squeezes the brake' to control virus

A coronavirus safety guideline is seen on the door of a mosque in Rochdale greater Manchester

Just hours after Britain imposed tougher measures on swathes of northern England, Johnson announced that casinos, bowling alleys and skating rinks, due to reopen on Saturday, would remain shut for at least two more weeks.

"With those numbers creeping up, our assessment is that we should squeeze that brake pedal... in order to keep the virus under control", Boris Johnson said during the Downing Street briefing.

According to the ONS, between July 20 and 26 there were around 0.78 new Covid-19 infections for every 10,000 people in the community population in England.

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.

- 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. Limited crowds were due to be allowed attend a small number of sporting events across England this weekend, but Johnson has pulled the plug on those plans following a spike in coronavirus cases.

The news comes after it was announced yesterday (Thursday) evening that from midnight today (Friday) two households will no longer be able to meet in Greater Manchester, East Lancashire and areas of West Yorkshire following a rise in cases.

"It is taxes that ultimately pay for the NHS and, if we don't get our economy moving more quickly, we will struggle to do that in future".

Friday morning, he added, "We take this step with a heavy heart, but it is so important that people follow the social distancing rules so that we can control the virus & save lives".

Other things which will not go ahead as planned across England on Saturday include indoor performances, reopening conference centres, and close-contact services such as facials and make-up application. He said the government must do everything it can to protect British citizens.

He said this would mean "a greater police presence to ensure face coverings are being worn where this is required".

However, advice to encourage employers to bring staff back into work remained unchanged, with Mr Johnson saying companies have gone to "huge lengths to make workplaces safe".

The Government will write to clinically vulnerable people living in areas where additional public health measures require them to continue shielding.

"We can not be complacent".



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