British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Friday that England had to “squeeze the brake pedal” and postpone easing coronavirus restrictions for at least two weeks amid a resurgence in cases just one month after reopening.

“Our assessment is that we should now squeeze that brake pedal in order to keep the virus under control,” he told reporters at a televised news conference.

“The prevalence of the virus in the community, in England, is likely to be rising for the first time since May,” he added.

Under the new guidelines, casinos, bowling alleys, skating rinks, wedding receptions of up to 30 people and indoor performances will all remain banned, despite earlier plans for them to restart on Aug. 1. Face masks will also now be mandatory in more indoor settings, such as movie theaters, museums and places of worship beginning Aug. 8.

Face coverings are already mandatory for people in shops and indoor transportation hubs, the BBC reported.

Johnson’s announcement came a day after new restrictions were placed on parts of northern England amid a recent rise in transmission rates. Instead of an overall lockdown, the government has banned gatherings of any size in private homes and permitted people to patronize pubs and restaurants only with those from their household.

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock clarified Friday that the new measures were not meant to target British Muslims, who awoke Friday to news of the restrictions a day before the annual Eid al-Adha holiday. Traditionally, families and friends gather for large meals during several days of festivities.

Britain reported 846 new positive coronavirus cases Thursday, its highest daily count since June 28.

Source: The Washington Post


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