UK postpones easing lockdown restrictions in England

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a press briefing in Downing Street, London, on the coronavirus (Covid-19).PA Video – PA Images | PA Pictures | Getty Images

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday announced a delay of at least two weeks in further easing coronavirus restrictions in England.An easing of restrictions was originally planned for the weekend.

The move comes shortly after the government imposed restrictions in parts of northern England following an increase in the transmission rate.

Among the changes, Johnson said wedding receptions of up to 30 people would no longer be allowed from August 1, with bowling alleys, casinos and ice rinks remaining closed.

Face masks, already needed in stores and indoor transportation hubs, will soon be mandatory in other settings as well.

Speaking at a televised press conference in Downing Street, Johnson said it was time to ‘step on the brakes to keep this virus under control’.

He also warned, citing the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics, that “the prevalence of the virus in the community in England is likely to increase for the first time since May”.

To date, the UK has recorded nearly 304,000 coronavirus cases, with 46,084 related deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The UK is second after Russia for the most Covid-19 infections in Europe.

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