July 31, 2020 12.44 pm This story is over 46 months old

PM postpones easing lockdown measures

Masks required in more places too

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has postponed lifting certain COVID-19 lockdown restrictions in response to an increase cases of the virus.

Bowling alleys, skating rinks and casinos were among the venues due to be able to open from tomorrow (Saturday, August 1), however, will now have to wait until at least August 15.

In a briefing on Friday, Mr Johnson also announced that from August 8, face coverings will be “encouraged” in more venues such as museums, galleries, cinemas and places of worship.

He said the government had previously said they “would not hesitate to put the brakes on” if cases rose, and said now was “the time to squeeze that brake pedal in order to keep the virus under control.”

Mr Johnson said: “I’m really, really sorry about that, but we really cannot take the risk.”

Moves to encourage more people back into their workplaces and a “pause” on shielding for the most vulnerable will still go ahead.

Office of National Statistics data has shown an increase in the latest numbers for coronavirus, estimating one in 1,500 people now having the illness with 4,900 new infections every day.

Professor Chris Whitty, England’s Chief Medical Officer, said it was a difficult balance but added “we have probably reached or neared the limits of what we can do in terms of opening up society”.

Mr Johnson reiterated all the rules around social distancing and basic hygiene measures. He urged people who showed symptoms to get tested as soon as possible.