Great Britain

Increase in infections has ‘levelled off’ so lockdown can be eased again, Gov say

THE INCREASE in coronavirus infections has "levelled off" so the lockdown can be eased again and more venues can reopen, the Government has said.

Indoor theatre performances, casinos, bowling alleys and ice skating rinks will be able to throw their doors open again tomorrow after a relaxation of measures was paused last month.

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The current rate of infections in the UK is 18.5 positive cases in every 100,000 people.

The number of new cases has slowly climbed above 1,000 a day over the last week - but officials have said the overall rate is "levelling off".

The latest info on infection rates says: "Two weeks ago the ONS had expressed concerns about a slight increase in the number of people in England testing positive.

"The situation now appears to have levelled off."

Boris Johnson said today: “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.

“At every stage I have said our plan to reopen society and the economy is conditional and that it relies on continued progress against the virus. 

“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.

"However, as I have always said, we will not hesitate to put on the brakes if required, or to continue to implement local measures to help to control the spread of the virus.” 

Plans to reopen indoor theatre and music performances, casinos, bowling alleys and ice rinks were paused a day before they were scheduled to have restrictions relaxed on August 1.

But they will now be able to open from tomorrow - and beauty salons will be able to offer "close contact" treatments such as eye threading and facials.

Wedding receptions with sit-down meals will also be able to restart for up to 30 guests.

The further easing of restrictions will not be extended to areas such as Manchester which have local lockdown rules in place - and indoor gatherings are banned.

The Government has also announce they will be doing allowing a small number of people into some sporting events to test the safety of reopening them to spectators from tomorrow.

Current plans would allow them to reopen to fans from October 1.

Business events and conferences will also be allowed to restart from October 1 if infection rates stay under control.

The Government has cracked down on people refusing to wearing face masks and ramped up fines - repeated offences can now escalate to penalties of up to £3,200.

The initial fine is still £100.

What can reopen from Aug 15 & what's still closed

CASINOS and bowling alleys were initially among a list of businesses due to reopen on August 1, but this was delayed after a spike in infections at the end of July.

Businesses that can reopen from August 15:

Businesses than can reopen from October:

Businesses that must stay closed:

Boris Johnson hails COVID-19 strategy with UK coronavirus deaths at lowest level since before lockdown

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