British PM puts brakes on easing lockdown amid virus resurgence

Clay Curtis
August 1, 2020

"Our assessment is that we should now squeeze that brake pedal in order to keep the virus under control", he said in a televised press conference yesterday.

While the Prime Minister insisted he does not want to reimpose a "full national lockdown", he said it is vital for the public to obey the rules to avoid more drastic action.

Standing alongside Mr Johnson, England's chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, warned that it might not be possible to ease lockdown further, saying the United Kingdom has "probably reached near the limit or the limits" of what can be done to reopen society.

What's happening: Entertainment venues like casinos, bowling alleys and skating rinks were set to open on August 1, but that has been pushed back until at least August 15.

Scientists advising the government say they are no longer confident that the R figure, which measures how many people each infected person passes the disease to, is below 1 in England. "Today I am afraid we are postponing those changes for at least a fortnight".

Johnson said an uptick in coronavirus infections in England - which has led to restrictions being imposed on house visitors in parts of northern England - means the reopening will be delayed.

The Government has ordered more police officers onto the streets to enforce the wearing of face coverings, which will become mandatory in indoor settings such as museums, galleries, cinemas and places of worship from August 8.

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"If employers don't keep their workplaces COVID-secure, then that's a matter that can be enforced in law", he said.

"My focus is not on closing borders, its about making that safe and we have put lots of things in place to make sure that when people visit Wales the information they get, the settings they visit and experiences they will have will have been made safe for them and others" said Mr Drakeford in response to a question from the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Johnson reiterated that his government would take whatever steps were necessary.

"At every point I have said our plan to reopen society and the economy is conditional - it relies on continued progress against the virus", Johnson said.

The affected region has a large Muslim population, and the restrictions coincide with the Eid al-Adha holiday, where many people would normally gather in each other's homes.

"We can not be complacent".

Check out our new six-part podcast series Notes on a Pandemic as CGTN Europe finds out how business, science and people have risen to the challenge of COVID-19.

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