UK's Johnson hits the brakes after 'warning light' of spike in cases

  • UK's Johnson hits the brakes after 'warning light' of spike in cases

UK's Johnson hits the brakes after 'warning light' of spike in cases

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Friday that a relaxation of lockdown rules in England set for August 1 will be postponed by at least two weeks as the rate of coronavirus' transmission across the country rises.

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. "Unfortunately, we are postponing those changes for at least a fortnight", the prime minister said.

"We will also extend the requirement to wear a face covering to other indoor settings where you are likely to come into contact with people you do not normally meet, such as museums, galleries, cinemas and places of worship", Mr Johnson said. "Our assessment is that we should now squeeze that brake pedal in order to keep the virus under control", Johnson said in a televised press conference.

It follows a spike in coronavirus cases which has led to general restrictions being reintroduced to some part of northern England.

The new rules, which came into effect from midnight, also ban members of two different households from mixing in pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues, but these businesses will remain open for those visiting individually or from the same household.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that while it's not the "sort of decision that anybody would want to take, " the government had no choice.

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".

This latest setback places further uncertainly on when crowds will be allowed to attend larger sporting events.

The announcement comes the day after some lockdown restrictions were re-introduced in the North West of England.

The Muslim Council of Britain's secretary general, Harun Khan, sharply criticized the way the announcement was made, saying that for Muslims in the affected areas, "it is like being told they can not visit family and friends for Christmas on Christmas Eve itself".

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.

However, a spokeswoman for number 10 confirmed that tattoo parlours and beauty salons could reopen - but would not allowed to perform these closer contact treatments.