09 Sep Coronavirus: Limit social contact as much as possible, urges Boris Johnson | Politics News
Boris Johnson has urged people to limit social contact as much as possible ahead of a ban on gatherings of more than six individuals in England from Monday.
Speaking at a Downing Street news conference, the prime minister admitted the coronavirus rules had become “complicated and confusing”.
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He said this latest move, the biggest crackdown since the COVID-19 lockdown was eased earlier this summer, was aimed at “simplifying and strengthening the rules” and “making them easier for everyone to understand”.
“You must not meet socially in groups of more than six,” Mr Johnson said.
He added: “The ban will be set out in law and it will be enforced by the police – anyone breaking the rules risks being dispersed, fined and possibly arrested.”
The ban will apply to indoor and outdoor gatherings, including private homes, parks, pubs and restaurants.
Gatherings will still be allowed where the household or support bubble is larger than six, or where gathering is for work or education.
Weddings, funerals and organised team sports will also be exempt.
The PM said “COVID-secure” venues like places of worship, gyms, restaurants and hospitality venues will still be able to hold more than six people in total.
But within those venues, there must not be individual groups larger than six and groups cannot mix socially or form larger groups.
Mr Johnson also revealed:
- Social premises and venues, including pubs and restaurants, will now be legally required to request test and trace information from customers and keep the details for 21 days
- Marshals will be drafted in to help ensure social distancing is maintained in town and city centres
- Border Force will be stepping up the enforcement of quarantine rules for travellers into the country
- Pilots of sports and entertainment events will be be reviewed
- The government is “working hard” to increase testing capacity to 500,000 a day
Prior to the PM’s address, England’s Chief Medical Officer Prof Chris Whitty said the number of coronavirus cases were “going up sharply” in the 20-29 and 30-39 age groups.
It comes after the number of daily positive coronavirus cases in the UK rose to almost 3,000 – figures not seen since May.
A total of 2,460 lab-confirmed cases were reported in the UK on Tuesday, following on from 2,948 on Monday and 2,988 on Sunday.
Presenting data from other European countries, Prof Whitty said it was vital to act “rapidly and decisively” when cases rise.