Britain postpones lockdown easing, reimposes restrictions

British PM Boris Johnson announced on Friday that he would postpone the next stage of lockdown easing for at least two weeks due to a pick-up in Covid-19 infection rates.  “On Saturday, 1 August, we had hoped to reopen in England a number of the higher-risk settings that had remained closed  Today I am afraid we are postponing those changes for at least a fortnight,” Johnson said at a news conference.

Separately, Britain’s health secretary defended the government’s abrupt re-imposition of restrictions on social life across a swath of northern England on Friday, saying it was important to clamp down quickly on new outbreaks of Covid-19. Matt Hancock said that while it’s not the “sort of decision that anybody would want to take,’’ the government had no choice. “It is important to move quickly because the virus spreads and you’ve got to make sure you do everything you can do keep ahead of it,” he told Sky News. 

Under the new restrictions, people from different households in Greater Manchester, England’s second largest metropolitan area, have been asked to not meet indoors. The order also applies to the surrounding areas of Lancashire and West Yorkshire counties, affecting more than 4 million people in all. Hancock said data showed the coronavirus was being spread primarily between households.

More on this subject: Coronavirus

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