UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock has warned that London residents could face another lockdown if they did not main social distancing amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve demonstrated that we’re prepared to take the actions necessary to keep people safe,” the Metro newspaper quoted Hancock as saying on Friday to Sky News.
His comments came after new restrictions affecting 4.5 million people were imposed in parts of northern England on Thursday night due to a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases.
Plans to open casinos, bowling alleys and skating rinks on Saturday have been shelved.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said further easing of lockdown restrictions including allowing small wedding receptions will be postponed for at least another two weeks.
At a Downing Street press conference on Friday, the Prime Minister said “squeezing the brakes” on reopening could help prevent a repeat of the nationwide lockdown, the Metro newspaper reported.
Johnson said the contagion is rising across the UK, with one in 1,500 people having the virus compared to one in 1,800 on July 15 and one in 2,000 on July 2.
The Office for National Statistics estimate there are now 4,900 new infections every day up from around 3,000 a day on July 14 and 2,000 a day at the end of June.
As of Saturday, the overall number of COVID-19 cases in the UK stood at 304,793, with 46,204 deaths.