Key parts of the PM’s statement:
The number of patients admitted to hospitals is still falling, and now stands at just over 100 each day. In April there were more than 3,000 coronavirus patients in mechanical ventilation beds, but now the latest figure is 87.
The number of deaths continues to fall. That is obviously encouraging
In parts of Asia and Latin America, the virus is now gathering pace. Some European countries are also struggling to keep the virus under control.
Today, the weekly survey by the Office for National Statistics reports that the prevalence of the virus in the community in England is likely to be rising for the first time since May.
Around 1 in 1,500 now have the virus, compared to 1 in 1,800 on 15 July and 1 in 2,000 on 2 July. The ONS also estimate there are now 4,900 new infections every day, up from around 3,000 per day on 14 July and 2,000 per day at the end of June
Last night the Health Secretary announced new restrictions on household contact in the North West – specifically Greater Manchester, and parts of East Lancashire and West Yorkshire.
These are targeted measures on social contact between households, which the data suggests is driving the current increase in cases. Businesses and workplaces should continue as before in those areas.
On Saturday 1 August, we had hoped to reopen in England a number of higher risk settings that had remained closed. Today, I am afraid we are postponing these changes for at least a fortnight.
That means that, until 15 August at the earliest:
- Casinos, bowling alleys, skating rinks and remaining close contact services must remain closed. Indoor performances will not resume.
- Pilots of larger crowds in sports venues and conference centres will not take place.
- Wedding receptions of up to 30 people will not be permitted, but ceremonies can continue to take place, in line with COVID-Secure guidelines.
- We also said we would pause shielding nationally from 1 August – based on clinical advice, that national pause will proceed as planned, and our medical experts will be explaining more about that decision later and about shielding later today.
A warning …
At this stage, we are not changing the rules on social contact nationally. I don’t want to tell people to spend less time with their friends. But unless people follow the rules and behave safely, we may need to go further. Two weeks ago, I said we would hope for the best but plan for the worst.
And of course we continue to hope for the best. The way to get there and to achieve that optimum outcome is if we all follow the rules, wash our hands, cover our faces, keep our distance – and get a test if we have symptoms, so that NHS Test and Trace can keep the virus under control.
This is how we will avoid a return to full national lockdown.
We’ve made huge progress together.
I know we are going succeed and I know we are going to beat this – if each and every one of us plays our part.