New tougher coronavirus measures could last for six months

Prime Minister Boris Johnson making a statement to MPs in the House of Commons on the latest situati

Prime Minister Boris Johnson making a statement to MPs in the House of Commons on the latest situation with the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: PA Wire - Credit: PA

Boris Johnson has announced a series of new restrictions to stop a future surge of coronavirus cases.

The prime minister said the latest measures could last up to six months during a statement at the House of Commons on Tuesday.

He warned that the government must “act now to avoid still graver consequences later on”.

Measures set out by Mr Johnson to limit the spread of the virus included:

• A maximum of 15 people are now able to attend a wedding.

• Pubs, restaurants and bars must close at 10pm and have table service only from Thursday.

• Takeaways must also close at 10pm, although there is no time restriction for deliveries.

• Face coverings must be worn by retail staff, taxi and private hire vehicles and staff and customers in indoor hospitality except when seated at a table to eat or drink.

• People who can work from home should do so.

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• The rule of six has been extended to include indoor team sport.

• Large sporting events, exhibitions and business conferences will not reopen from October 1.

Stricter penalties have also been introduced.

Failure to wear a face covering or breaking the rule of six has doubled to a £200 fine for the first offence.

In addition, Covid-secure guidelines will become legal obligations in the retail, leisure, tourism and other sectors.

Mr Johnson warned that further tougher measures may be needed if the virus continues to spread with the R number remaining above one.

“I must emphasise that if all our actions failed to bring the R below one then we reserve the right to deploy greater firepower with significantly greater restrictions,” he said.

Mr Johnson said the measures had come as the UK was at a “perilous turning point”.

He said a month ago an average of around 1,000 people across the UK were testing positive for Covid-19 every day, adding the latest figure has almost quadrupled to 3,929.

But the prime minister insisted the measures did not amount to a second lockdown.

“This is by no means a return to the full lockdown of March, we’re not issuing a general instruction to stay at home, we will ensure that schools, colleges and universities stay open because nothing is more important than the education, health and wellbeing of our young people,” he said.