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article imageNew COVID-19 restrictions in place as hospitalizations in UK rise

By Karen Graham     Sep 22, 2020 in Health
The UK is at a “perilous turning point” and must act, Boris Johnson has told MPs, announcing new restrictions for England including slashing the size of wedding celebrations and bans on indoor team sports, as well as a return to home working.
Speaking in the House of Commons Tuesday morning, Prime Minister Johnson told the MPs: "We always knew that while we might have driven the virus into retreat, the prospect of a second wave was real. I'm sorry to say that, as in Spain and France and many other countries, we've reached a perilous turning point," reports the BBC
Johnson outlined the new restrictions, coming short of calling for a complete lockdown of the economy after the number of coronavirus cases in the UK rose by 4,926 on Tuesday, according to government figures, with deaths increasing by 37. Johnson noted that there are no general instructions saying people must stay at home, and all schools, colleges and universities will remain open.
The new restrictions include a ban on indoor team sports, all bars and restaurants must close at 10 P.M., weddings will be limited to 15 guests, and funerals will be allowed to go ahead with up to 30 mourners. Additionally, Johnson said plans for a partial return of sports fans to stadiums from 1 October had been “paused."
Workers are again being asked to work from home, something that many officials and scientists are saying never should have been relaxed after the first wave of COVID-19 cases.
English pubs  bars and other hospitality venues will be required to close at 10pm while food and dri...
English pubs, bars and other hospitality venues will be required to close at 10pm while food and drink outlets will be restricted to table service only
"'Work from home if you can' is again, and always should have been, the government's message," tweeted Gabriel Scally, honorary professor of public health at the University of Bristol. "Their attempt to cajole people to get back to city center offices should never have happened. Being clear and consistent is extraordinarily important — I wish they would be!"
Social gatherings - both indoor and outdoor - that don't meet certain exemptions are limited to six people under a law that went into effect last week. And there are fines for not heeding the restrictions. A first offense will cost £200 or US$255. Jurisdictions will be receiving extra funding to enforce the regulations.
Prime Minister Johnson anticipates the new restrictions will be in place for six months, warning everyone against becoming complacent, according to The Guardian.
“After six months of restrictions, it would be tempting to hope the threat has faded and seek comfort in the belief that if you have avoided the virus so far then you are somehow immune,” he said.
“That sort of complacency could be our undoing. if we fail to act together now, we not only put others at risk but jeopardise our own futures with the more drastic action that we will inevitably be forced to take.”
Johnson also warned that if these additional measures fail to bring the country's R number below one - the point where the epidemic is no longer growing - "then we reserve the right to deploy greater fire power with significantly greater restrictions" he said.
Currently, the data shows the daily growth rate for the UK as a whole is between -1 percent and 3 percent, up from -1 and 2 percent. The "R" refers to the “effective reproduction number,” and is a way to measure an infectious disease’s capacity to spread.
More about coronavirus, United Kingdom, Hospitalizations, perilous turning point, Health
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