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Boris Johnson has delayed a planned easing of Englands lockdown restrictions for at least two weeks amid a rise in coronavirus cases.
The prime minister on Friday announced casinos, bowling alleys, skating rinks and remaining close-contact services must remain closed, while indoor performances and pilots of larger crowds in sports venues will not take place. Plans to allow wedding receptions of up to 30 people were also postponed.
He also announced face coverings will be mandatory in more indoor settings, including museums, cinemas and places of worship from 8 August, and shielding has been paused for the clinically vulnerable in England and Scotland from Saturday.
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It comes after tougher measures were introduced in parts of Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and east Lancashire in northern England, banning people from different households meeting indoors or in gardens following a spike in virus cases.
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‘Close pubs to reopen schools’Professor Graham Medley, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said England may have to consider closing pubs in order to reopen schools next month.
When asked about the chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty’s prediction that the country was “near the limits” of opening up society, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine academic told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think that’s quite possible.
“I think we’re in a situation whereby most people think that opening schools is a priority for the health and wellbeing of children and that when we do that we are going to reconnect lots of households.
“And so actually, closing some of the other networks, some of the other activities may well be required to enable us to open schools.
“It might come down to a question of which do you trade off against each other and then that’s a matter of prioritising, do we think pubs are more important than schools?”
- 1 August 2020 09:20
In Bradford, it was not the decision itself which caused shock or frustration. It was the timing, writes Colin Drury.When Matt Hancock announced late on Thursday night that the West Yorkshire city would be part of a swathe of northern England where coronavirus restrictions were to be tightened, many people here had long expected it. The place, as they point out, has consistently been among Englands top Covid-19 hot spots.
What few could have imagined, however, was that the new guidelines essentially banning friends and family from meeting in homes and gardens would come at 9.30pm on the eve of Eid al-Adha, a major Islamic festival celebrated by gathering with loved ones.
- 1 August 2020 09:09
Shielding advice easedBoris Johnson on Friday announced the shielding advice for people deemed clinically extremely vulnerable during the peak of the pandemic in England would be paused as planned from today.
The advice on shielding in Scotland will also be paused.
- 1 August 2020 09:05
Plans to further ease England’s lockdown from today have been postponed for at least two weeks after new restrictions were imposed in parts of northern England amid a spike in coronavirus cases.In a hastily-planned press conference at 10 Downing Street on Friday, Boris Johnson said it was time to squeeze the brake pedal on the return to normal life.
He extended the ban on wedding receptions of up to 30 people, as well as the blocks on indoor theatrical performances restarting and entertainment venues opening, including casinos, bowling alleys and skating rinks. The reopening of close-contact services in settings like beauty salons was also delayed, as were pilots of sporting events with crowds and gatherings in conference centres.
- 1 August 2020 09:00
Good morning and welcome to today’s live blog. We’ll be bringing you rolling coverage of the coronavirus pandemic across the globe.
- 1 August 2020 08:54