Here are the key points from the press conference with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and England’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty.
– Further easing of lockdown in England postponed
Measures due to be lifted on Saturday, including allowing small wedding receptions and reopening bowling alleys and casinos, have been postponed for at least two weeks.
Mr Johnson said: “I’m afraid that in parts of Asia and in Latin America, the virus is gathering pace and some of our European friends are also struggling to keep it under control.
“As we see these rises around the world, we can’t fool ourselves that we are exempt. We must be willing to react to the first signs of trouble.”
– Face coverings to be made mandatory in museums, cinemas and places of worship
Mr Johnson said face coverings will be compulsory in indoor settings where people are likely to come into contact with others they do not know in England from August 8.
The Prime Minister said he has asked the Home Secretary to work with the police and others to ensure the rules which are already in place are properly enforced.
He said this would mean “a greater police presence to ensure face coverings are being worn where this is required”.
– Shielding pause will go ahead as planned
Shielding will be paused in England from August 1, when extremely clinically vulnerable people who have stayed at home to protect themselves from Covid-19 are allowed to return to work.
Mr Johnson said the pause will go ahead as planned, adding that medical experts will be explaining more about the decision later.
– People urged to remember the slogan “hands, face, space”
Mr Johnson said it was important to keep the advice being issued as simple as possible.
PM @BorisJohnson has announced today that some of the proposed changes to the rules in August will be postponed for at least a fortnight.
— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) July 31, 2020
“Wash your hands, cover your face in the settings that we had mentioned and keep your distance from other people where you don’t know them, you’re coming into contact with them for the first time, and of course get a test and self-isolate if you have symptoms,” he said.
– Staycations are encouraged this summer
Mr Johnson said the UK has “all sorts of fantastic destinations”, and hinted that he may go on a staycation despite “working flat out”.
Speaking at the briefing, he said: “All my happiest holiday memories are of holiday vacations here in the UK, bucket-and-spade jobs or whatever, and I thoroughly, thoroughly recommend it, and I’m sure that people will have a great time over the summer.”