UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street for PMQs at the House of Commons in London, England on September 30, 2020.
Alberto Pezzali | NurPhoto via Getty Images
LONDON – UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday urged the UK to stick to the rules to avoid stricter coronavirus restrictions as the country grapples with a rapid surge in the number of reported coronavirus cases.
“The best way to protect the NHS, save lives, keep our children moving in school and business is by following the rules wherever we live,” said Johnson.
“I don’t want to go back to a national lockdown that leaves general guidance at home,” Johnson responded to a question submitted by a member of the public. “We’re not saying that, we want to keep the economy moving, we want to keep young people and students in education. But we can only do that if we all follow the instructions and suppress the virus.”
The prime minister, who recently apologized after messing up the government’s coronavirus rules, spoke to Chris Whitty, the government’s chief medical officer, and Patrick Vallance, its chief scientific adviser, during a televised press conference.
It comes shortly after the country recorded the highest number of reported Covid-19 infections since the pandemic began.
The UK reported an additional 7,143 cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday, surpassing the number of new cases reported in late April and early May when strict nationwide lockdown measures were put in place, despite the fact that more daily Covid-19 tests are currently being performed than in the Spring.
The UK also recorded 71 more coronavirus-related deaths on Tuesday. It was the highest number of Covid-19 deaths reported in the UK since July 1. The country has the worst official death toll in Europe and the fifth highest number of coronavirus deaths worldwide.
On Wednesday, the UK recorded 7,108 new cases of the coronavirus and an additional 71 deaths, the same number of deaths reported on Tuesday.
“Discipline and Determination”
Downing Street had previously announced that shuffling households in northeast England would be banned from Wednesday evening after the number of confirmed cases rose sharply in the area.
The government also advised residents of the area not to mingle with people outside their household in pubs and restaurants.
Johnson, who himself got particularly sick when he signed Covid-19 earlier this year, has urged the public to “invoke the discipline and determination” required to abide by the recent introduction of coronavirus rules.
On a television broadcast to the nation on Sept. 23, the prime minister outlined new restrictions that could apply for up to six months, saying, “There have been too many violations.”
In England, restrictions included stricter rules on face covering and the number of people allowed to attend weddings was cut in half. Pubs, restaurants and other eateries were also due to close at 10pm, while fines for breaking the new rules have been increased to £ 200 (USD 256) on the first offense.
Restaurants in Wales and Scotland will also have to close early, while Northern Ireland has already banned household mixing indoors.
Tens of millions of people in the UK are now subject to local restrictions to slow the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.
Amid mounting pressure on Johnson to impose a two-week “breaker” lockdown to get the virus under control, prominent lawmakers from the ruling Conservative Party have spoken out against the potential for additional measures.
Johnson has suggested that the government “must retain the right to go further” with stricter regulations as the number of Covid-19 cases and related deaths continues to rise.