Published:Wednesday, 23 Sep 2020 11:09
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has defended the “balanced, targeted and proportionate” new coronavirus measures amid criticism from some scientists.
In England, people are being told to work from home if they can and rules on face coverings have been expanded.
The measures have exposed a split among scientists. Prof John Edmunds, who advises the government, said they did not go “anywhere near far enough”.
But other scientists say they hope they are a shift towards a coherent policy.
On Tuesday, tighter restrictions were announced in all four UK nations.
Other measures introduced in England include a 10pm closing time for pubs and restaurants and the number of people allowed at weddings has been halved. The fines for breaking the rules are set to increase to £200 on the first offence.
Hospitality venues will also have to close early in Scotland and Wales – but Scotland has gone further, banning people from visiting other people’s homes from Wednesday. Northern Ireland has also already banned households mixing indoors.
In a television broadcast on Tuesday night, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said “we must reserve the right to go further” if cases continue to rise.
He said he was “spiritually reluctant” to infringe on people’s freedoms, “but unless we take action, the risk is that we will have to go for tougher measures later, when the deaths have already mounted”.