England tightens virus rules as cases mount

LONDON • British Prime Minister (PM) Boris Johnson on Tuesday announced a tightening of rules on social gatherings amid concern at rising infection rates, particularly among young people.

The law in England will change from next week to reduce the number of people who can gather socially from 30 to six, with some exemptions.

Johnson’s government also unveiled a new public information campaign entitled “Hands. Face. Space”, to emphasise the importance of handwashing, face coverings and social distancing.

“We need to act now to stop the virus spreading,” the PM said, ahead of a press conference yesterday where he will explain the changes.

More than 41,500 people confirmed to have coronavirus have The death rate has now fallen Europe, cases are increasing, with died in Britain, the worst toll to its lowest level since mid- almost 3,000 daily infections in Europe. March, but as in other parts of reported in recent days.

Johnson’s office said medical and scientific advisors had agreed that “urgent action is needed”, while police had also asked for the rules to be simplified.

The government currently says people must not socialise outside in a group of more than six people from different households, but the law actually puts that limit at 30 in private spaces.

From Monday, this will be reduced to six, except for large families, weddings, funerals, organised team sports, workplaces and educational settings.

“We are simplifying and strengthening the rules on social contact, making them easier to understand and for the police to enforce,” Johnson said in remarks released by his office. — AFP