LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday will tell people to work from home where possible and cut bar and restaurant hours to fight a second wave of the rapidly spreading coronavirus, but opposition l ‘accused of losing control.
With millions of people across the UK already under some form of COVID-19 restriction, Johnson will tighten measures in England while stopping before another full lockdown as he imposed in March, according to his office and his ministers.
Johnson will hold emergency meetings with ministers, address parliament at 11:30 a.m. GMT, then speak to the nation at 7:00 p.m. GMT after government scientists warned the death rate would rise without urgent action.
Just weeks after urging people to start returning to their workplaces, Johnson will now advise them to stay home if they can, according to his office and ministers. It will also order all pubs, bars, restaurants and other hospitality sites across England to start closing at 10 p.m. from Thursday.
“There is going to be a change of focus. If it is possible for people to work from home, we will encourage them to do so, ”cabinet minister Michael Gove told Sky News.
The new restrictions will limit the hospitality sector to table service only, although Gove has said he wants those who cannot work from home – for example in manufacturing, construction and retail – to continue. to work from workplaces secured by COVID.
Schools will also remain open, he said.
It was unclear whether the measures would be enough to tackle Britain’s second wave, which government scientists say could reach 50,000 new cases a day by mid-October.
Opposition Labor leader Keir Starmer blasted Johnson’s leadership, especially for test failures. “Instead of pulling together, the government lost control… Our testing system collapsed when we needed it most,” he said.
The UK already has the highest official death toll from COVID-19 in Europe – and the fifth in the world – as it borrows record amounts to pump emergency money into the damaged economy.
Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey warned the ‘very unfortunate’ escalation of COVID-19 cases threatened the economic outlook and said the central bank was looking to determine how it could further support the economy .
Advertising operator JD Wetherspoon has said it could cut 400 to 450 jobs at sites at six airports, including Heathrow and Gatwick in London, due to the sharp drop in passenger numbers.
(Global spread of interactive chart tracking: here)