RISING CASES OF COVID19 IN ENGLAND DELAY EASING OF RESTRICTION
Further easing of restrictions in England are postponed for at least two weeks, due to recent increases in cases, UK prime minister Boris Johnson announced today. From 8 August, face coverings will become compulsory in more indoor settings, including museums and places of worship.
Face coverings are already mandatory in shops, supermarkets and on public transport. “Higher risk settings” including bowling alleys, skating rinks and casinos were due to open tomorrow but will not do so until at least 15 August. Indoor performances and wedding receptions of up to 30 people will not be allowed to resume.
The announcement comes after additional restrictions were placed on people living in Greater Manchester, parts of East Lancashire, West Yorkshire and Leicester in England, who will no longer be allowed to meet indoors.
The Department of Health and Social Care said people in the affected areas are allowed to go to pubs and bars but that people from different households would need to maintain physical distance. The new measures come after 1536 new cases were recorded across these northern regions in the week leading up to 27 July.
The UK government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies said that easing restrictions risks accelerating transmission of corona virus at a meeting on 23 June, according to minutes of the meeting released today. “An increase in local outbreaks is highly likely” [if restrictions are eased], the minutes said. The report also highlights the importance of effective communication by the government, saying that only 65 per cent of people recognise a cough or fever as a symptom of covid-19.
In the UK, conservative MP Craig Whittaker has been criticised for saying that the Muslim community and people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds in England “are just not taking the pandemic seriously.” His comments come as restrictions were tightened in parts of northern England ahead of the Muslim celebration, Eid. “This is shameless scapegoating of minorities,” a spokesperson for the Muslim Council of Britain told the Guardian, adding that Whittaker should apologise.
Only about half of people in the UK said they think covid-19 is the most important issue facing the country today, according to a survey conducted by researchers at the University between 16 and 22 July. The figure is down from 72 per cent at the end of April.
(By: Musty Mustapha)