By Rachael Grealish
Plans for further easing of lockdown have been delayed for ‘at least a fortnight’ the Prime Minister confirmed in a press conference.
Speaking to the UK from Downing Street today, Friday July 31, Boris Johnson has put the brakes on easing lockdown measures following spikes in Coronavirus in the North West, Yorkshire and Luton.
This means the original plans to reopen theatres from tomorrow, August 1, have been scrapped.
Wedding receptions of up to 15 people will be prohibited, although ceremonies can still take place alongside COVID- secure guidelines.
Johnson said: “We should now squeeze that brake pedal in order to keep virus under control. I’m really sorry about that but we simply cannot take the risk.”
“We’re now seeing a warning light on the dash board and it’s right to react.”
The PM also added that from August 8 face coverings will be mandatory for indoor settings where you’re likely to come into contact with people you don’t normally meet – such as museums, cinemas, galleries and places of worship.
Johnson said: “We now recommend face coverings are worn in these settings, and this will become enforceable in law from August 8.
“At this stage, we are not changing the rules on social contact nationally. I don’t want to tell people to spend less time with their friends. But unless people follow the rules and behave safely, we may need to go further.
“This is how we will avoid a return to full national lockdown.
The Prime Minister was joined by Professor Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer for England, who said that we have potentially reached a limit for how much of society can be opened up at this time.
He said: “I think what we’re seeing from the data from ONS and other data is that we have probably reached near the limit or the limits of what we can do in terms of opening up society.
“But we have to be realistic about this. The idea that we can open up everything and keep the virus under control is clearly wrong.”
These decisions have been announced after official figures, released today, showed a spike in the number of new coronavirus cases across England for the first time since April.
Johnson said ‘we can’t afford to avoid this evidence’.
The UK saw its highest daily total of COVID-19 cases for more than a month yesterday with a total of 846 new cases were reported — this is the most since 901 cases were announced on 28 June.
This is a sharp turn on lockdown after the PM appeared hopeful to return to ‘normal’ for Christmas – as he announced on July 17.
Fears of a second wave have been lingering in the air for weeks – something the government has received criticism over for their lack of clarity with their stance on this.
Their clarity on new lockdowns imposed on more than 4.5 million people in Greater Manchester, East Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire were last night has also been scrutinised after they have been banned from meeting other households indoors.
It has also now been recommend that people with symptoms of coronavirus should self-isolate for 10 days now, contradictory to the preview recommendation of seven days.