Limit social contact as much as possible, PM urges

Boris Johnson has urged people to limit social contact as much as possible ahead of a ban on gatherings of more than six individuals in England from Monday.

Speaking at a Downing Street news conference, the prime minister admitted the coronavirus lockdown rules had become “complicated and confusing”.

:: Follow live coverage of the latest coronavirus news and updates

He said this latest move was aimed at “simplifying and strengthening the rules” and “making them easier for everyone to understand”.

“You must not meet socially in groups of more than six,” Mr Johnson said as he announced the new “rule of six”.

He added: “The ban will be set out in law and it will be enforced by the police – anyone breaking the rules risks being dispersed, fined and possibly arrested.”

The PM also revealed:

  • Social premises and venues, including pubs and restaurants, will now be legally required to request test and trace information from customers and keep the details for 21 days
  • Marshals will be drafted in to help ensure social distancing is maintained in town and city centres
  • Border Force will be stepping up the enforcement of quarantine rules for travellers into the country
  • Pilots of sports and entertainment events will be be reviewed
  • The government is “working hard” to increase testing capacity to 500,000 a day

He added that social premises and venues, including pubs and restaurants, will be legally required to request test and trace information from customers and keep the details for 21 days.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock on #KayBurley

‘Abiding by the rules is absolutely vital’

Prior to the PM’s address, England’s Chief Medical Officer Prof Chris Whitty said the number of coronavirus cases were “going up sharply” in the 20-29 and 30-39 age groups.

Presenting data from other European countries, Prof Whitty said it was vital to act “rapidly and decisively” when cases rise.

In the biggest crackdown since the COVID-19 lockdown rules were eased this summer, social gatherings of more than six people will be illegal in England from Monday.

Mr Johnson told MPs earlier that the new coronavirus rules will “keep our economy going, keep our schools open, and keep this virus under control”.

The ban will apply to indoor and outdoor gatherings, including private homes, parks, pubs and restaurants.

The government has released a new advert to help prevent the spread of coronavirus as winter approaches

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Gatherings will still be allowed where the household or support bubble is larger than six, or where gathering is for work or education.

Weddings, funerals and organised team sports will also be exempt.

The PM said it was imperative ministers “act now” to stop the virus spreading.

It comes after the number of daily positive coronavirus cases in the UK rose to almost 3,000 – figures not seen since May.

A total of 2,460 lab-confirmed cases were reported in the UK on Tuesday, following on from 2,948 on Monday and 2,988 on Sunday.

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