A couple wearing face shields talk on the street in central Liverpool, north-west England on 18 September 2020.
OLY SCARF AFP | Getty Images
LONDON – The British government must outline additional restrictive measures for England on Monday, including tighter local blockades, as it tries to curb the rapid rise in coronavirus infections.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to outline the restrictions first in the House of Commons and then in a televised statement to the public on Monday night. The country is prepared to introduce a “three-tier”
Liverpool and Manchester, as well as other parts of the North of England, could see the toughest measures as levels of infection have risen since the national lock was lifted in the summer. British media reports suggest that pubs, restaurants and gyms in the worst-hit areas may be forced to close for four weeks as the government struggles to stop the second wave of infections.
The measures are likely to increase tensions between regional politicians and the national government in London, as local economies come under additional pressure and thousands of jobs are likely to be affected.
As Prime Minister Boris Johnson held an emergency meeting with senior officials to finalize the measures, leading British medical experts held a press briefing. They warned to increase hospitalizations and said several Nightingale hospitals built specifically to deal with the influx of patients from Covid-19 have been put on standby.
What are the current restrictions?
The new measures come on top of existing national restrictions, banning groups of more than six people from gathering and forcing restaurants to close at 10 p.m.
In some parts of the United Kingdom, there are already local blockages, and residents are not allowed to mix with other households or meet unless they are outside. Meanwhile, parts of Scotland and Wales have already closed pubs and restaurants, and the latter have also imposed some traffic restrictions.
The UK government has been criticized for the complex rules that currently apply and vary from region to region, and it is hoped that a differentiated system will simplify the rules.
Britain at a turning point
The move comes when leading government health advisers have warned that Britain is at a “turning point”. Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, England’s deputy chief medical officer, issued a statement on Sunday warning British lawmakers that the seasons were “against us”.
“Unfortunately, just as night follows day, the increase in deaths will continue in the next few weeks,” Van Tam said.
Another leading government adviser, Peter Hornby, a professor of emerging infectious diseases at Oxford University, warned on Sunday that a second national lock was possible, but should be avoided if possible.
Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr on Sunday, Hornby said health services could be overwhelmed if measures are not taken to slow the spread of the virus. “We have a doubling time (for infections) of about eight to 15 days, so soon these beds in the intensive care unit (intensive care unit) may be full and we may find ourselves in a really difficult situation. So I’m afraid that we will have to make some very difficult choices and act very quickly. “
The United Kingdom has reported 606,447 cases of Covid-19 and 42,915 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to data from Johns Hopkins University (JHU). On Sunday, 12,872 new cases were registered. Data up to October 8 show that the average number of cases in 7 days was 14,391, compared to 9,715 on October 1.