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UK leader to end England coronavirus blockade on 2 December




The Johnsons office said late Saturday that the government plans to return to using a three-tier system of restraints localized in England, with areas facing various blocking measures based on the severity of their outbreaks. More communities are expected to be placed in the two highest categories of virus alert, he said.

The government placed England under a four-week blockade that began on 5 November. The cabinet will discuss the plans on Sunday, and the prime minister intends to give details to Parliament on Monday, according to the statement.

The UK as a whole has the worst number of virus deaths in Europe, with over 54,700 deaths.

Johnson announced the blockade in England on Oct. 31 after public health officials warned that an exponential rise in new daily coronavirus infections was threatening to overwhelm the National Health Service as winter flu season approached. The connection shut down non-core business like many shops, gyms, bars, restaurants even though the takeover was allowed. He also banned most social gatherings, but schools remain open.

The new known cases of COVID-19 have started to fall across the UK, with the number of positive tests over the last seven days falling 13.8% from a week ago. About 2,861 COVID-related deaths were reported in the last 7 days, 17 less than a week ago. Still, the infection rate remains high, at 244 cases for every 100,000 people.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told reporters Friday that the blockade has been successful in slowing down the spread of the virus, though he stressed that people should continue to follow the rules to keep cases down.

Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, deputy chief medical officer, warned that any gains from the November blockade could be quickly lost to a virus that only takes a few seconds to spread.

People need to keep up the pressure on this virus and tighten it as much as we can by the end of the (blocking) period, he said.

The government scientific advisory group, known as SAGE, is expected to release reports Monday showing that Johnsons’ early three-tier strategy was not strong enough and recommending tougher restrictions when it returns.

Under this system, an average alarm level requires restaurants and pubs to close at 10pm and prevents residents from mixing in groups larger than six. The high level prevents people from gathering indoors with anyone not in their family or prolonged support bubble.

In areas under very high readiness, pubs and bars can stay open and serve alcohol only if it comes with a hearty meal. People are advised not to travel in or out of those areas.

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