Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 27 October 2020

CORONAVIRUS

UK’s daily coronavirus cases soar to new record high of 7,143

Prime Minister Boris Johnson forced to apologise after muddling up his own lockdown rules

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivers a speech at Exeter College Construction Centre. Finnbarr Webster/Pool via REUTERS
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivers a speech at Exeter College Construction Centre. Finnbarr Webster/Pool via REUTERS

The UK has reported its highest single daily coronavirus figure with more than 7,000 cases.

The record numbers come as the government faces a major backlash over its latest lockdown measures.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was forced to apologise on Tuesday after getting confused over his own government's lockdown rules.

On Tuesday, the UK recorded 71 deaths, the highest number since July when 97 were recorded.

The UK has been forced to impose tougher lockdown restrictions across the country as cases continue to rise.

But in some northern areas stricter localised lockdowns have been imposed banning households from mixing.

Three northern cities, Liverpool, Leeds and Manchester, have hit out at the 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants warning their hospitality industries will collapse unless it is eased.

Mr Johnson apologised on Twitter for having "misspoken" when asked about regional restrictions on socialising that are set to be imposed in north east England from midnight.

He sought to clarify that the "rule of six" limit on social gatherings in England does apply to outdoors, after earlier telling reporters that it did not.

The rule was introduced earlier this month to replace what Mr Johnson himself said were "confusing" regulations.

The opposition Labour party seized on the gaffe.

"For the prime minister to not understand his own rules is grossly incompetent," Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner said.

With 42,000 people confirmed to have died from Covid-19 in the UK, the highest death toll in Europe, ministers are desperate to stop the virus spreading as it did in the spring.

Rules vary for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, with early pub closings in some places but not in others, mixing with other families allowed here but not there, and other highly localised restrictions.

In England, groups are restricted to six - except for grouse-shooting parties.

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson's own Conservative MPs are also indignant about the lack of parliamentary scrutiny of regulations that restrict personal freedom and can trigger large fines.

More than 40 politicians have signed an amendment making ministerial powers to tackle Covid-19 dependent on a vote by MPs.

For procedural reasons, the amendment is not expected to be put to a vote when it is debated in the House of Commons on Wednesday, but it highlights the scale of the unease.

One Tory MP, Steve Baker, was pictured on Monday wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the slogan "2020 is the new 1984", in reference to George Orwell's dystopian novel.

Mr Johnson will hold a press conference with his top health advisers on Wednesday to outline his government’s latest moves in tackling the virus, his spokesman said.

Updated: September 29, 2020 08:49 PM

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