Coronavirus: restrictions strengthened in some parts of the north of England

Coronavirus: restrictions renforcées dans certaines parties du nord de l'Angleterre

LONDON | new restrictions are imposed to the inhabitants of some parts of the north of England on Friday, because of a surge in cases of infections with the novel coronavirus, a new measure announced by the government just hours before its entry into force.

The inhabitants of Greater Manchester, parts of East Lancashire and West Yorkshire have now the prohibition to meet other people inside of their homes or in their gardens.

They can always go to the pubs and restaurants, but do not have the right to mix with members of other households.

The encounters in the parks are allowed.

“We take this decision with heavy hearts, but we are seeing increasing rates of Covid in Europe and we are determined to do all that is necessary to ensure the safety of the population”, said the Health minister, Matt Hancock on Twitter.

With almost 46 000 deaths of people tested positive to the virus, the United Kingdom displays the most heavy toll of the virus in Europe.

The new measure affects approximately 4 million people. It came into force at midnight, after having been announced some time before, which has led to criticism by the opposition.

“No doubt that the implementation of local measures to reduce the transmission of the case of coronavirus. But to announce measures affecting potentially millions of people later in the evening on Twitter is a new communication failures of the government during this crisis,” responded the leader of the labour party, Keir Starmer, on this social network.

The labour mayor of Manchester, Andy Burnham, has estimated Friday on Sky News that the government’s decision was the “right thing to do”, because “the situation has changed in the Greater Manchester during the last week”, with an increase of cases.

Matt Hancock has defended the government’s communication. “When facing a pandemic like the one above, it is sometimes important to react quickly,” he said on Sky News. He added that similar measures could be taken in other parts of England if necessary.

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