Plans to further ease England’s coronavirus lockdown have been put on hold, because of a rise in the rate of infections.
Boris Johnson has said it’s time to “squeeze the brake pedal” on further relaxation of the rules, warning that the country shouldn’t be complacent.
The Prime Minister now says face coverings should be worn in more places where people can come into contact with others they don’t know.
Bowling alleys, skating rinks and casinos won’t be reopening as planned, and certain beauty treatments involving the face won’t be allowed for at least two weeks.
Wedding receptions of up to 30 people and indoor musical and theatrical performances won’t be allowed either, and the public will have to wear face coverings in cinemas, museums and galleries as well as places of worship from August 8th.
England’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty, says the country has “probably reached” the limits of what can be done in opening up society, with infections now rising.
Meanwhile 4 million people living in communities in northern England now have to abide by strict new measures. People living in Greater Manchester and parts of East Lancashire and West Yorkshire can no longer visit another household, in their home or garden. The police will have powers of enforcement..
People can still go to pubs, restaurants and shops in the affected areas as well as places of worship but only with members of their own household.
The tougher rules follow a jump in new infections in the past week in almost every part of Greater Manchester.
Cases of coronavirus infection across the UK have been rising slightly. Scientists don’t know whether that’s because of more and better testing, or if it’s the beginning of a resurgence in infections, as we’ve been seeing elsewhere in Europe.
Two dozen areas are now on Public Health England’s watchlists due to the rise infection rates.
Clive Myrie presents BBC News at Ten reporting from political correspondent Leila Nathoo, Judith Moritz in Manchester, science editor David Shukman and health correspondent Lauren Moss.
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