Boris Johnson slams on the brakes and delays more lockdown easing

Boris Johnson slams on the brakes and delays more lockdown easing
# 01 August 2020 09:39 (UTC +04:00)

Boris Johnson's delay to lockdown easing will take a wrecking ball to the economic recovery, according to ailing businesses braced for yet more hardship, APA reports citing Daily Mail.

The Prime Minister today announced he is 'squeezing the brake pedal' on lifting the coronavirus restrictions still throttling some sectors of UK plc.

He also extended the compulsory wearing of face masks to most indoor public spaces, including museums in places of worship.

After the infection rate doubled in July, ministers and scientists are increasingly weary of a second onslaught of the virus, which is seeing a resurgence in several other countries.

But business which have been shuttered and starved of income during the pandemic have warned the government's sudden decision will take a 'hammer blow' to the economy.

The British Chamber of Commerce said the halt to lockdown loosening would be a blow to firms trying to get back on their feet.

And industry leaders from the beleaguered hospitality trade branded it 'devastating' for pubs, restaurants and holiday resorts across Britain.

Mr Johnson's announcement also coincided with a 65-point slump in the FTSE as investor confidence reeled from the uncertainty.

Speaking from Downing Street this afternoon, Mr Johnson stressed the need for caution - in a striking contrast from his optimism earlier this month that normal life would resume by Christmas.

He said coronavirus cases have started to 'creep up' - with the Office for National Statistics estimating there are now 4,200 new infections every day, up from 2,000 per day at the end of June - and as a result the Government had no choice but to delay the further reopening of the economy.

He said the scheduled August 1 return of casinos, bowling alleys and close contact services like beauticians has now been pushed back to August 15 'at the earliest'. Loosening rules to allow wedding receptions of up to 30 people and a pilot scheme of bringing crowds back to sports venues have also been delayed.

The mandatory wearing of face coverings will be extended in England to include galleries, cinemas and places of worship while there will also now be a 'greater police presence' to ensure people wear masks and comply with social distancing.