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England resumes lockdown easing but stiffens punishment on rule breaches


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England resumes lockdown easing but stiffens punishment on rule breaches

 

2020-08-13T214328Z_1_LYNXNPEG7C1TN_RTROPTP_4_BRITAIN-NIRELAND.JPG

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson puts on a mask at the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service HQ during his visit to Belfast, Northern Ireland August 13, 2020. Brian Lawless/Pool via REUTERS

 

LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered the reopening of the economy in England to resume, saying a rise in infections that prompted caution two weeks ago had now levelled off, but warning of harsher punishment for those who breach the remaining rules.

 

Last month, amid rising case numbers, Johnson said there was "a warning light on the dashboard" and paused the reopening of casinos, bowling alleys and skating rinks just hours before they opened their doors.

 

He said that phase of his reopening plan can now go ahead.

 

"Today, we are able to announce some further changes which will allow more people to return to work and the public to get back to more of the things they have missed," he said.

 

Most businesses are now allowed to operate, albeit within strict guidelines. Friday's announcement means trials of crowds at sporting events can also go ahead and indoor theatre, music and performances can resume with socially distanced audiences.

 

Data shows infections in Britain have topped 1,000 three times this month and remain at or above the level seen two weeks ago. Quarantine measures have been imposed on European neighbours where cases are rising more sharply.

 

An accompanying statement issued by Johnson's office added: "Two weeks ago the ONS (Office for National Statistics) had expressed concerns about a slight increase in the number of people in England testing positive. The situation now appears to have levelled off."

 

However, Johnson also announced increased fines of up to 3,200 pounds ($4,175) for those who repeatedly refuse to wear a face mask where they are required to do so, and cautioned that he would halt the lockdown easing again if required.

 

“Most people in this country are following the rules and doing their bit to control the virus, but we must remain focused and we cannot be complacent," he said.

 

(Reporting by William James; editing by Stephen Addison)

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2020-08-14
 
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Interesting anti body testing study has found that 3.4 million people in England alone have been infected with the virus. Puts the death rate in a much better perspective.

 

"The first report from the world’s largest home antibody testing programme tracking who has been infected by COVID-19 in England has today been published.

 

The findings indicate that 3.4 million people – 6% of the population – had already been infected by COVID-19 by 13 July 2020, with variations across the country."

 

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/largest-home-antibody-testing-programme-for-covid-19-publishes-findings

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A sensible approach by Boris. It's time to get things moving again. The aim of lockdown was to stop the NHS being overwhelmed and this has been successful.

 

A devastated economy would bring even more suffering in the long term. So the message has to be "Proceed with caution".

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22 minutes ago, JonnyF said:

A sensible approach by Boris. It's time to get things moving again. The aim of lockdown was to stop the NHS being overwhelmed and this has been successful.

 

A devastated economy would bring even more suffering in the long term. So the message has to be "Proceed with caution".

sign of a failed system that it can't cope with a crisis then?

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I thought the measures of re-opening an economy was a steady (7-day?) decline in cases, hospitalizations and/or deaths. Not a leveling that means the virus is likely to surge. Infection of 6% of the population still allows continued spikes in community spread infections, especially from large indoor gatherings if mask and social distancing fail. What does Boris have to lose - Lives?

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9 hours ago, Bkk Brian said:

 

The findings indicate that 3.4 million people – 6% of the population – had already been infected by COVID-19 by 13 July 2020, with variations across the country."

 

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/largest-home-antibody-testing-programme-for-covid-19-publishes-findings

Which, if correct, almost certainly means a death rate of significantly under 2% from this virus. Of course, we don't yet know what, if any, the long term effects of this virus may be but, as you say, this death rate does put things into perspective and highlights questions about the measures taken and their timing.

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England still needs to continue to strengthen air defense against the epidemic. Although maintaining economic growth  and epidemic prevention and control are contradictory, it is necessary to strike a balance between the two. In some cases, it is necessary to abandon short-term economic growth.

Edited by Scott
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