UK leaves restrictions in place amid coronavirus surge

UK leaves restrictions in place amid coronavirus surge
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The U.K. government announced Friday it would keep in place restrictions intended to reduce the spread of the coronavirus pandemic as new outbreaks are again on the rise.

The action comes after the country on Thursday re-imposed restrictions on some social activities across northern England, including preventing households from visiting each other, The Associated Press reported.

Medical advisers for the government have cautioned that a fully reopened society would lead to another surge of uncontrollable COVID-19 hot spots. 

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson said daily COVID-19 case reports had nearly doubled since June, with daily rates averaging at 4,900 new cases, up 2,000 from averages at the end of June.

"We just can't afford to ignore this evidence," Johnson said during a press conference. "With those numbers creeping up, our assessment is that we should now squeeze [the] brake pedal in order to keep the virus under control."

Johnson added it would delay plans for allowing venues to reopen, including bowling alleys, skating rinks, casinos and other attractions that were previously slated to reopen Saturday.

The return of theaters and public sporting events will also be placed on hold, with Johnson announcing the measures will be reviewed again in two weeks.

The government said Thursday it would reimpose pandemic restrictions across northern England, affecting residents in Greater Manchester, England's second-largest metropolitan area.

The measures will limit residents from meeting with outside guests indoors and also applies to Lancashire and West Yorkshire counties.

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The government's latest imposition to prevent surging cases will restrict nearly 4 million people's social lives, the AP reported.

Harun Khan, the Muslim Council of Britain's secretary-general, criticized the move as it falls alongside the Eid al-Adha holiday, saying, "It is like being told they cannot visit family and friends for Christmas on Christmas Eve itself.″

Britain has incurred Europe's highest death toll from the coronavirus pandemic with 46,000 fatalities. Johnson said an independent inquiry would be launched to investigate why the country suffered high death tolls from the virus outbreak.