UK PM Boris Johnson introduces new restrictions to avoid second wave of coronavirus

3 weeks ago 4

Terming the coronavirus situation in England a "perilous turning point", British Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out a fresh set of restrictions for the next six months until a "palpable progress" is observed.

According to the new restrictions, pubs, bars and restaurants will close by 10 pm and will be restricted to table service.

People have been asked to work from home where possible.

Face coverings are to be worn by the retail staff and people in taxis and private hire vehicles, in restaurants (except when eating) and other public places.

No more than 15 guests are allowed to attend weddings from September 28, as per the new rules stated.

From Monday, it is legally binding for people in the UK to quarantine if tested positive or if one has come in contact with a coronavirus patient.

Refusing to self-isolate could lead to a fine up to £10,000.

According to these self-isolation rules, a person won't be able to leave their house even to buy essentials for 10 days.

These stringent rules were introduced after research, carried out for the Department of Health, revealed that a large number of people have been flouting the Covid rules.

Policing will be stricter to implement these rules and military can be called if necessary.

This came after UK's Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance and Chief Medical Officer Chris Witty warned the nation, in a televised address last week, that if steps are not taken now, by mid-October, UK could face 50,000 cases a day of Covid.

"At the moment, we think the epidemic is doubling roughly every seven days," said Sir Vallance adding, "If that continues unabated and this grows doubling every seven days... you would end up with something like 50,000 cases in the middle of October per day."

He also warned that if a similar pattern continues by November, then the country could see "200-plus deaths per day".

The challenge, thus, is to "make sure that the doubling time does not stay at seven days," he said.

Debunking myths about Britain being in herd immunity as "vast majority" of Brits are "susceptible" to Covid-19, Chief Medical Officer Chris Witty said: "What we're seeing is a rate of increase across the great majority of the country."

He further warned that the rate of increase might be different in different cities or areas but its " beginning to rise" across all parts of Britain.

Socially distanced restaurant: Diners seated in family bubbles. (Photo: AP)

Chis Witty minced no words in saying that Covid-19 is "not someone else's problem...this is all of our problem."

Addressing the Commons UK's Health Secretary, Matt Hancock said, "No doubt, UK virus is accelerating," adding that "we are at a tipping point".

British Medical Association called for "stronger measures in the short term to help prevent a longer lockdown in the future".

Calling for "rigorous adherence" to preventive measures, Chair of the BMA, Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: "There is also a huge need for better communication from the government to local populations regarding real-time local infection rates - comparable to local weather information - and for this to be culturally competent."

"We also need clarity and consistency of how decisions about national lockdowns or other restrictions are being made. We need to know the criteria for when different restrictions will be introduced, and local public health specialists need to have the autonomy to act in the best interests of their own towns and cities."

The surge in Covid-19 cases has been higher in areas with high ethnic populations in London including Indians.

East London is one hotspot.

Within the East London, areas of Redbridge, Barking and Dagenham top the list of new Covid infections surge.

Of them, Redbridge, in particular, has a high population of Indians, close to 17 per cent.

Most of the areas topping the list have considerable Black Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities including Indians, which have been more susceptible to Covid 19 in the UK.

The list of areas witnessing a surge in infections includes Hounslow and Harrow with a high number of Indian origin population.

Till September 25, there were 2,865 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 in London -- up from 1,906 the previous week and 2,305 a week earlier.

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