Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said ‘we must act to stop the rise in cases to avoid another lockdown’.
Speaking at a press conference in Downing Street today, Boris Johnson announced new “rule of six” restrictions. New measures include hospitality venues, such as pubs, having to legally record people’s details with fines being issued if they don’t.
Special ‘COVID Secure Marshalls’ will also be introduced in town and city centres that local authorities can draw upon to ensure social distancing is kept to. Measures at the border will be stepped up to ensure quarantine rules are adhered to, said the PM.
Mr Johnson also outlined a “moonshot” plan to control the virus with mass testing, this comes as the UK reported another 2,659 coronavirus cases, the fourth day running of over 2,000 reported cases. “I want to be absolutely clear, these measures are not another national lockdown. The whole point of them is to avoid a second national lockdown,” Mr Johnson said. He added, “it breaks my heart to have to insist on these restrictions”.
Mr Johnson also revealed that there would be a full range of measures put in place to enforce coronavirus restrictions more effectively:
- Social gatherings of more than six people in England will not be allowed in law from Monday 14 September
- Venues such as pubs and restaurants will be legally required to request contact details of everyone visiting, hold it for 21 days and provide it to NHS Test and Trace. They face fines of £1,000 if they fail to comply
- Opening hours could be restricted in some areas, as in Bolton where venues must close between 10 pm and 5 am
- “COVID-secure marshals” will be introduced to help ensure social distancing in town and city centres
- The passenger locator form, filled out by travellers returning to the UK to enforce quarantine rules, will be simplified and Border Force will increase enforcement
- People who ignore police could be fined £100 – doubling with each offence to a maximum of £3,200
The prime minister also said that the government was “working hard” to increase testing capacity to half-a-million tests a day by the end of October. He added they also want to use a new type of test “in the near future” to identify people who do not have coronavirus, and are not infectious so they can live life “in a more normal way”.
He said these swab or saliva tests could be turned around in 90 or even 20 minutes, with millions processed each day – a “moonshot” effort to restore more normal life even if a vaccine or treatment is not available very soon.