Boris hits the pause button on England lockdown easing
PIC: AFP

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday applied brakes on further easing of lockdown measures, due from this weekend, in England, fearing a spike in the COVID-19 cases.

Johnson said, "we must squeeze the brake pedal" to keep the virus under control and also announced that face coverings will become mandatory across many more indoor settings, such as cinemas, besides just public transport and shops and supermarkets after the rate of infection doubled during July. Johnson said coronavirus cases have started to 'creep up' - with the Office for National Statistics estimating there are now 4,200 new infections every day, up from 2,000 per day at the end of June - and as a result the Government had no choice but to delay the further reopening of the economy, reports the Daily Mail.

"The prevalence of the virus in the community, in England, is likely to be rising for the first time since May," said Johnson, referring to the Office for National Statistics data.

"That means until August 15 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 gatherings in sports venues and conference centres will not take place, and wedding receptions of up to 30 people will not be permitted," he said.

The UK PM insisted that progress against coronavirus continues, with the daily and weekly number of deaths falling, but warned that some European countries are "struggling" to control it.

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