Bars will open their doors last night in Liverpool, North West England, on October 13, 2020 before new local lockdown measures are put in place.
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The UK government is under increasing pressure to impose a strict, short mini-lock to act as a so-called “breaker” for the coronavirus.
Keir Starmer, the leader of the opposition Labor Party, added the scientists’ calls for a two to three week lockdown as an infection rocket in the country.
Starmer accused British Prime Minister Boris Johnson of ignoring expert advice after reports surfaced Tuesday that the government’s key scientific advisors said a few weeks ago the country should go into a national mini-lock to prevent the virus from spreading to stop.
The Labor leader said the government’s current plan – which includes the Covid-19 “alert system” launched on Monday and setting levels of risk in areas of England based on their infection rate – is “not working”.
A “breaker” now in place could span the school holidays in late October but would require “significant sacrifices,” he said at a press conference Tuesday.
A mini-lock wouldn’t affect schools, Starmer said, but would only allow essential travel and work from home, if at all possible. The shuffling of households would be limited to one household, and pubs, bars and restaurants would have to close for two to three weeks, and parliament would again work remotely, Starmer said.
The call for further measures comes because parts of the country are already closed on site and mixing of households indoors is prohibited. The majority of England, however, is at “medium” risk, which means that there are basic restrictions that limit social gatherings to no more than six people and force pubs and restaurants to close at 10pm.
The toughest lockdown measures went into effect on Wednesday in the northern city of Liverpool as the government placed them in the “very high” alert category due to a surge in infections. Pubs and bars that do not serve food must be closed, as must gyms, leisure centers, betting shops, adult gaming centers and casinos. Mixing of households outdoors or indoors is prohibited, and entering and leaving areas classified as “very high” is not recommended.
Despite pressure on the government, Johnson and senior lawmakers were reluctant to implement a full lockdown for fear of more economic damage.
Posts published on Monday showed that the Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (SAGE), which provides scientific advice to the government in times of crisis, had advised the government to impose further restrictions – and proposed a lockdown three weeks ago. They also proposed banning households from indoor mixing and closing all bars, restaurants, cafes, gyms and hairdressers.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson returns to Downing Street on October 13, 2020 in London, England.
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The UK has the third highest number of infections in Europe after Spain and France with 637,708 confirmed cases of the virus and over 43,000 deaths. This is the worst number in Europe according to Johns Hopkins University.
UK government data showed an additional 17,234 people tested positive for the virus on Tuesday, up from 13,972 on Monday. The average number of infections within seven days reached 14,972 on October 10, up from 11,994 the week before.