Covid: Prime Minister considers new restrictions amid second wave of coronavirus


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Boris Johnson will spend the weekend reflecting on whether to tighten Covid-19 measures in England, after saying the UK “is now seeing a second wave”.

The government plans to ban the mixing of households and reduce the opening hours of pubs and restaurants.

At least 13.5 million people, or around one in five of the UK’s population, already face local restrictions.

In London, additional measures were “more and more likely”, said its mayor.

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Mr Johnson has only direct power over restrictions in England. The decentralized governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can set their own rules.

Widespread growth of the virus has been recorded across the country, with cases doubling every seven to eight days.

Another 4,322 cases were confirmed as of Friday – the first time the daily total of positive tests has exceeded 4,000 since May 8.

Meanwhile, governments across Europe have announced new restrictions to tackle the spike in infections.

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Speaking on Friday, Mr Johnson said he did not “want to go into bigger lockdown measures” but stricter social distancing rules may be needed.

He added: “Obviously, when you look at what’s going on, you have to ask yourself if we need to go beyond the rule of six that we introduced on Monday. “

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Media legendBoris Johnson said on Friday there was no doubt the UK was seeing a second wave

The government is said to be considering a short period of tighter rules across England – “a blackout” – which could mean the closure of reception venues.

However, schools and workplaces would remain open.

No 10 is also considering limiting the opening hours of pubs and restaurants across the country, as has already happened in many parts of the north-east of England, where pubs have had to close at 10:00 p.m. BST Friday.

Deputy Labor leader Angela Rayner called on the government to hold an emergency Cobra meeting, review the science and improve its communication so ‘people can do the right thing’.

“If the government is able to do this, we will support it,” she told the BBC.

She also said it had been “shocking” to see how the government’s testing and tracing system had failed “in a monumental way”.

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Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Welsh Prime Minister Mark Drakeford are also calling for a Cobra meeting.

Ms Sturgeon said the next few days would be ‘critical’ to avert another large-scale lockdown in Scotland.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said he was extremely concerned at the evidence of the speed with which the coronavirus is spreading in the capital.

“We will be looking at some of the measures that have already been imposed in other parts of the UK,” he said.

“I firmly believe that we should not wait, as happened six months ago, for this virus to get out of control again before acting. “

The government science advisory group for emergencies (Sage) said the R number – representing the number of people an infected person will transmit the virus to – has risen from 1.1 to 1.4.

Although deaths remain at a very low level, Sage said the increase in the R number “shows that we are moving towards broader growth in transmission at a faster rate.”

Public Health England medical director Yvonne Doyle has warned of “much worse things to come”.

The sharp rise in cases in the UK over the past two weeks comes amid persistent issues with the government’s testing and tracing program, leading people to struggle to access testing.

“The UK’s trajectory is not set in stone”

The question is no longer where we are, but where we are going.

Yes, the numbers of people infected, hospitalized with Covid, or dying from the disease are all at much lower levels than at the peak.

Scientists will quibble over the exact definition of a “second wave,” but all data points to a growing number of infections.

Government science advisers say that number is now doubling every week.

If these trends continue, infections could rise from some 6,000 a day to over 100,000 by mid-October.

It is this trajectory, which is not set in stone, that the government is trying to change.

There are questions for politicians whether to make a “cut” to improving Test and Trace.

But, with evidence suggesting that only one in five people follow the rules for self-isolation when they get sick, there are questions for all of us too.

New restrictions for large parts of North West England, West Yorkshire and the Midlands will come into effect on Tuesday.

The latest areas where additional measures have been put in place are Lancashire (except Blackpool), Merseyside and the boroughs of Warrington and Halton in Cheshire.

Additional restrictions are also in place in Wolverhampton, Oadby and Wigston in Leicestershire, and in all parts of Bradford, Kirklees and Calderdale.

In total, nearly 4.7 million people will be affected by the new restrictions, which prohibit separated households from meeting at home or in private gardens.

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