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England to restrict most gatherings to 6 people amid spike in coronavirus cases

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England is reportedly planning to impose new restrictions banning most social gatherings of more than six people in light of a sudden spike in coronavirus cases. 

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce the new measure on Wednesday during a press conference, according to multiple reports. The ban on social gatherings will go into effect next week and offenders could be subject to fines beginning at 100 pounds, or $129. 

The restrictions will apply to indoor and outdoor gatherings, including public parks and private homes, The New York Times noted. However, weddings, sporting events, schools and funerals will reportedly not be affected. 

“We need to act now to stop the virus spreading. So we are simplifying and strengthening the rules on social contact — making them easier to understand and for the police to enforce,” Johnson said in a statement. 

“It is absolutely critical that people now abide by these rules and remember the basics —  washing your hands, covering your face, keeping space from others, and getting a test if you have symptoms.”

The new policy comes as England experiences its worst outbreak in months. The country has reported nearly 8,500 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the last three days alone, according to The Guardian. The Times reported that the country recorded about 3,000 cases on Sunday and Monday, representing the highest daily figures since May. 
 
Jonathan Van Tam, England’s deputy chief medical officer, on Monday linked the recent surge to people’s behavior during the summer. People “relaxed too much,” he told the BBC, adding that “we have got to start taking this very seriously again.”
 
The new policy reportedly resolves problems authorities were facing with policing crowds and public gatherings. It comes on the heels of a meeting Johnson had last week with law enforcement, where officers requested simpler health guidelines, the Guardian noted.
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