UK postpones easing of blockade restrictions in England

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a press conference in Downing Street, London, on the coronavirus (Covid-19).

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UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Friday a delay in reducing coronavirus restrictions in England for at least two weeks.

Initially a relaxation of the restrictions had been scheduled over the weekend.

The move comes shortly after the government imposed restrictions on strips in the north of England following an increase in the transmission rate.

Among the changes, Johnson said wedding receptions of up to 30 people will no longer be allowed starting Aug. 1, with bowling alleys, casinos and skating rinks remaining closed.

Facial liners, which are already required in shops and inland transportation centers, will also soon be required in more settings.

At a televised press conference on Downing Street, Johnson said it was time to “hit the brake pedal to keep the virus under control.”

He also warned, citing the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics, that “the prevalence of the virus in the community in England is likely to increase for the first time since May.”

To date, the UK has recorded nearly 304,000 coronavirus cases, with 46,084 related deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The UK is second only to Russia for the highest number of Covid-19 infections in Europe.