LONDON | Gatherings of more than six people will be banned from Monday in England to fight the epidemic of the new coronavirus, which is recording a surge in the United Kingdom, especially among young people, announced the British government.
• Read also: All developments in the COVID-19 pandemic
Currently set at 30 people, this new limit will apply “to gatherings indoors and outdoors, in private accommodation, outdoor public spaces and places such as pubs and restaurants,” the services said. Prime Minister Boris Johnson ahead of a Wednesday afternoon press conference.
“We must act now to prevent the virus from spreading,” the conservative leader must say, according to the statement.
“We are simplifying and strengthening the rules on social contacts to make them easier for the police to understand and apply,” he must add. “It is absolutely essential that people obey these rules.”
The exceptions concern households of more than six people, schools, workplaces, weddings, funerals or team sports organized in accordance with sanitary regulations.
Violators face a fine of 100 pounds sterling (around 100 euros), which will be doubled for each repeat offense to a maximum of 3,200 pounds.
In the United Kingdom, the most bereaved country in Europe with more than 41,500 dead, each of the four constituent nations decides on its own health measures, the government of London being competent only for England.
Local re-containments have already been put in place to contain outbreaks of the Covid-19 disease, in order to avoid a new containment at the national level, devastating for the economy.
In Bolton (north-west of England), restrictions were tightened Tuesday due to a sharp rise in contamination, especially among people in their twenties and thirties.
With 120 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, this city in the north-west of England has “the highest incidence rate in the country,” Health Minister Matt Hancock told the House of Commons.
Only take-away sales are now permitted in restaurants and pubs in this city of around 280,000 inhabitants, and all establishments must close between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. Visits are reduced to retirement homes and meetings between people from different homes are prohibited.
While the number of deaths from the virus is the lowest since March, the number of new positive cases is on the rise, as in other countries in Europe. It reached 2,460 on Tuesday – one of the highest levels recorded since May – bringing the total to 352,560.
The British government will also launch a media information campaign on Wednesday to raise public awareness, as winter approaches, about the importance of washing hands, wearing a mask and respecting social distancing.
For its part, Wales put in place its first local containment on Tuesday, banning entry and exit, without a valid excuse, from the County of Caerphilly at least until October.