UK Government Postpones Plans To Allow Weddings With Up To 30 Guests From Tomorrow
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In a press conference on Friday, Boris Johnson said that he would be ensuring the UK has a "squeeze on the break pedal" when it came to rising levels of coronavirus infection by preventing a series of easing measures which were expected to take force from tomorrow.
This will include pausing slightly more "high risk" venues opening as planned tomorrow, such as bowling alleys, skating rinks and casinos.
Beauty treatments that involve contact with the face will not be allowed as initially planned.
Plus, changes allowing 30 guests at wedding celebrations will also be postponed.
The PM said: "Until August 15th at the earliest, casinos, bowling alleys, skating rinks and the remaining close contact services must remain closed.
"Indoor performances will not resume, pilots of larger crowds in sport venues and conference centres will not take place and wedding receptions of up to 30 people will not be permitted, but ceremonies, of course, can continue to take place in line with Covid secure guidelines."
The Prime Minister added that the country "cannot afford to ignore the evidence" about a rise in Covid-19 cases.
It comes as tomorrow was meant to mark another step in our battle against the virus, with the PM telling the public just weeks ago that he hoped we would resume "relative normality" by Christmas.
Boris said he knew the step backwards would be a "real blow to many people" but added that we "could not take the risk" to continue as planned.
His announcement follows evidence that Covid-19 in the community have risen, according to a weekly survey by the ONS.
This is the first time infection has been on the rise since May. Around one in 1,500 are said to now have the virus compared while in mid-July this figure sat at one in 1,800.
The ONS is now estimating that there are as many as 4,900 new infections every day, while we were seeing just 2,000 a day at the end of June.
During the announcement, Boris said the "national pause" would not affect those being encouraged to return to the office tomorrow.
"It is safe to get into a Covid-safe workplace and that is our guidance," he said.
Plus, eases to shielding will also go ahead as planned.
In new restrictions, the wearing of face coverings in any indoor venue where you may come into contact with strangers will now be encouraged from the 8th August.
This includes Museums, galleries and places of worship.
We were given our first hint at greater restrictions when the government told the public that those with Covid-19 symptoms must now isolate for 10 days, instead of seven, yesterday.
In a statement, the chief medical officers said that the new advice was based on fresh evidence suggesting that people with mild to moderate symptoms may be infected for longer than they initially thought.
They said: "Evidence, although still limited, has strengthened and shows that people with Covid-19 who are mildly ill and are recovering have a low but real possibility of infectiousness between seven and nine days after illness onset.
"We have considered how best to target interventions to reduce risk to the general population and consider that at this point in the epidemic, with widespread and rapid testing available and considering the relaxation of other measures, it is now the correct balance of risk to extend the self-isolation period from seven to 10 days for those in the community who have symptoms or a positive test result."
Adding: "This will help provide additional protection to others in the community. This is particularly important to protect those who have been shielding and in advance of the autumn and winter when we may see increased community transmission."
Recent findings have showed that people were most infectious before symptoms begun to show, and during the first few days of the infection.
But they have also proved that people could still be infectious up to nine days after catching the virus - even if they felt significantly better.
The new advice is echoed by the World Health Organisation.
The government also announced that separate households would not be allowed to meet inside in Greater Manchester, east Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire, after a spike in Covid-19 cases.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the government had taken "targeted" action based on information they had gleaned from contact tracing.