‘This Is The Moment When We Must Act’: U.K. Government Imposes New Coronavirus Rules

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In this image taken from video, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson makes a statement to MPs in the House of Commons on the state of the COVID-19 pandemic.

House of Commons/AP

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House of Commons/AP


The U.K. government’s COVID-19 dashboard shows that after a surge of cases and deaths this spring, a second wave of new cases began in August and has risen sharply this month. On Monday, the U.K. reported nearly 4,400 new cases.

The government’s scientific advisers say that if the virus is left unchecked, the U.K. can expect to see 50,000 cases a day by mid-October and more than 200 deaths a day by mid-November.

«We have, in a bad sense, literally turned a corner,» Chris Witty, England’s chief medical officer, said Monday in a national telecast. «I think everybody will realize that at this point, the seasons are against us. … This period of the next six months, I think we have to realize that we have to take this collectively very seriously.»

There is skepticism about how much of an impact Johnson’s new measures will have. For instance, in suburban London, the curfew would trim the operating time of some pubs only by 90 minutes. Meanwhile, the government continues to fail to meet the demand for coronavirus testing, raising concerns it won’t be able to track the virus’ spread this fall.

«We warned the prime minister months ago that testing need to be fixed by the autumn,» said Keir Starmer, leader of the opposition Labour Party, responding to Johnson in the House of Commons. «But the government didn’t listen. They pretended it wasn’t a problem. They didn’t act quickly enough. Now the testing system isn’t working just when we need it.»

  • COVID-19
  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson
  • coronavirus
  • United Kingdom


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