Coronavirus: ‘We must act’ to prevent second lockdown, says PM

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Media captionThe prime minister mentioned the brand new measures have been “not one other nationwide lockdown”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has mentioned “we must act” to keep away from one other lockdown as virus instances rise in England.

He set out a brand new “rule of six”, restricting gatherings to a maximum of six people, enforced by police in a position to challenge fines or make arrests.

Mr Johnson additionally outlined a “moonshot” plan to management the virus with mass testing, presumably by subsequent spring.

It comes because the UK reported one other 2,659 coronavirus instances, the fourth day working of over 2,000 reported instances.

“I need to be completely clear, these measures will not be one other nationwide lockdown. The entire level of them is to keep away from a second nationwide lockdown,” Mr Johnson mentioned within the first Downing Avenue coronavirus briefing since July.

He added “it breaks my coronary heart to have to insist on these restrictions”.

Within the final week, instances have risen from 12.5 infections per 100,000 individuals to 19.7 per 100,000 throughout the UK.

Coronavirus was extra prevalent amongst younger individuals, with 54 instances per 100,000 individuals within the 19 to 21-year-old age group.

Mr Johnson additionally introduced that:

  • Venues equivalent to pubs and eating places will likely be legally required to request contact particulars of everybody visiting, maintain it for 21 days and supply it to NHS Take a look at and Hint. They face fines of £1,000 in the event that they fail to comply
  • Opening hours might be restricted in some areas, as has occurred in Bolton the place venues must shut between 10pm and 5am
  • “Covid-secure marshals” will likely be launched to assist guarantee social distancing on the town and metropolis centres
  • The passenger locator type, stuffed out by travellers arriving within the UK to implement quarantine guidelines, will likely be simplified and Border Power will improve enforcement
  • Plans to check out bigger audiences in venues later this month will likely be revised, and the federal government is reviewing its plan to enable spectators again into sports activities stadiums from 1 October

Mr Johnson mentioned the principles had “turn into fairly difficult and complicated” and the federal government was “simplifying and strengthening” them after suggestions from police and the general public.

However Labour chief Sir Keir Starmer mentioned the brand new guidelines on gatherings have been a mirrored image that “poor communications have been a big a part of the issue” with the unfold of the virus.

Sir Keir mentioned the federal government additionally wanted to enhance testing, which was “all over”, following studies that some individuals have been unable to e book assessments.

The prime minister mentioned the federal government was “working exhausting” to improve testing capability to 500,000 assessments a day by the tip of October, however urged individuals solely to e book a take a look at if they’d coronavirus signs.

He mentioned additionally they need to use new forms of take a look at “within the close to future” to determine individuals who don’t have coronavirus and will not be infectious to allow them to reside life “in a extra regular manner”.

He mentioned these swab or saliva assessments might be rotated in 90 and even 20 minutes, with hundreds of thousands processed every day.

The prime minister evoked the Apollo area programme, describing the “large collaborative effort” of this testing programme as a “moonshot”, which may restore a extra regular lifestyle even when a vaccine or remedy shouldn’t be out there.

‘Behind the scenes, focus is on the susceptible’

For all of the discuss of vaccines and speedy testing, it was clear – actually listening to UK chief medical adviser Prof Chris Witty – that this winter will likely be exhausting.

Respiratory viruses have a tendency to do higher within the autumn and winter due to the colder climate and the actual fact individuals combine indoors extra. That’s the reason we see flu instances and, sadly, deaths rise each winter.

Many consultants imagine the identical will occur within the coming months, regardless of the most recent measures.

Meaning the federal government faces some very tough choices. It has to steadiness the affect of additional restrictions – which may hurt well being in different methods, in addition to injury schooling and the economic system – towards the chance of letting the virus unfold.

The general public has an enormous position to play. However by itself that might not be sufficient.

Behind the scenes there’s plenty of concentrate on how to defend the susceptible – that would imply locking down care properties and asking individuals to protect once more.

However the UK is in a stronger place than it was in the beginning of the pandemic. The lockdown purchased us time.

Higher remedies can be found and, whereas many issues stay with testing and tracing, the programs in place are an advance on the place we have been when the virus first hit the UK.

These new assessments will likely be piloted with audiences attending indoor and out of doors venues in Salford from subsequent month.

However the authorities’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance mentioned the know-how wanted to be “examined rigorously” and it will be “utterly mistaken to assume this can be a slam dunk”.

The measures that wanted to be taken towards coronavirus have been “damaging” socially, economically and to individuals with different well being situations, chief medical officer Prof Chris Whitty acknowledged.

“We have now to do them as a result of the choice is worse,” he mentioned.

He added that “the interval between now and spring goes to be tough” and other people should not see the restrictions “as a really brief time period factor” as a result of they have been unlikely to be lifted after simply two or three weeks.

Mr Johnson mentioned it was “too early to say” if massive events might be held over Christmas, however added that he was “nonetheless hopeful” some elements of life may return to regular by the festive season.

He mentioned the restrictions could be in place solely “so long as needed”.

“I am sorry about that. I want we didn’t have to take this step, however as your prime minister I must do what is critical to cease the unfold of the virus and save lives,” he mentioned.

The brand new “rule of six” means:

  • Social gatherings of greater than six individuals in England is not going to be allowed in regulation from Monday 14 September
  • The brand new rule applies to individuals in personal properties, indoors and outside, and locations equivalent to pubs, eating places, cafes and public out of doors areas
  • It applies to all ages
  • The rule doesn’t apply to faculties and workplaces, or weddings, funerals and organised crew sports activities
  • A full listing of exemptions is due to be revealed earlier than the regulation modifications
  • Individuals who ignore the police might be fined £100 – doubling with every offence to a most of £3,200

The chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, Ken Marsh, mentioned the brand new guidelines have been ” very flimsy” and could be tough to implement.

At current, the steerage says two households of any dimension are allowed to meet indoors or outside, or up to six individuals from totally different households outside. Till now the police have had no powers to cease gatherings until they exceeded 30.

The variety of individuals allowed to meet inside or exterior varies within the UK’s 4 nations. If you’re assembly indoors: up to eight people from three totally different households can meet in Scotland; up to six people from two households in Northern Eire; up to four households can type an “prolonged family” in Wales.

In different developments:

  • Companies in England which are required to shut due to coronavirus restrictions will likely be in a position to declare £1,500 per property each three weeks, the Treasury introduced. However the British Chambers of Commerce mentioned for many “this is not going to be sufficient to offset the ensuing money crunch”
  • A brand new public data marketing campaign will likely be launched throughout the UK reminding individuals of the “fundamentals” – washing their palms, masking their face and giving others area
  • Doncaster Racecourse has been informed by public well being officers to cease spectators attending its assembly from Thursday. Greater than 2,500 spectators are anticipated there on Wednesday
  • The quarantine rule on travellers coming into England from seven Greek islands got here into drive at 04:00 on Wednesday
  • The primary medical trials for a coronavirus vaccine at Oxford College have been placed on maintain after a participant had an antagonistic response

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