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Coronavirus latest - UK PM Boris Johnson announces no immediate end to lockdown

Coronavirus latest - UK PM Boris Johnson announces no immediate end to lockdown
Copyright AP
Copyright AP
By Alessio Dell'AnnaAFP & AP
Published on Updated
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Follow our live blog for all the latest on the Covid-19 crisis.

  • UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announces modest easing of lockdown

  • Joint British-French statement says UK traveler quarantine measures will not apply to travelers from France to the United Kingdom "at this stage"

  • The World Health Organization has dismissed as “false allegations” a media report that it withheld information about the new coronavirus following pressure from China.

  • Italy has its lowest total of daily new COVID-19 cases since start of nationwide lockdown in early March.

  • Sunday shows lowest death toll in France since confinement. 70 people have died within the last 24 hours, as opposed to 80 the day before. All in all, 26,380 have died from COVID-19 in France.

UK's Boris Johnson announces next steps in defeating the pandemic

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In a pre-recorded speech on Sunday evening, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out the step by step plan for the UK to recover from the virus.

He announced the introduction of a new alert system, which consists of five stages which will be measured according to the R-factor. R referring to the reproduction rate, which measures the average number of people that a person infected with Covid-19 contaminate. That factor must urgently be kept below 1.0. There will be five-level alerts, with the UK currently being at the second-highest, which is level four.

The new alert system will be able to give the government good insight on a local and on a national level and will be able to pick up any new hotspots.

Johnson also explained that those working in construction and manufacturing should be allowed, and encouraged to go back to work. Yet, they should avoid public transport due to its limited capacity. Yet, anyone who can work from home shall continue to do so, he said.

He also went over phases two and three of his plan which will allow the gradual reopening of shops and hospitality services and the return of pupils to schools.

During his speech, Johnson indicated possible dates for easing the lockdown. However, he said: "If we can’t do it by those dates, we will simply carry on until we got it right."

Read more: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson: 'Keep that R down'

Italy has its lowest total of daily new cases

Italy has registered its lowest total of daily new COVID-19 cases since the start of the nationwide lockdown in early March.

According to Health Ministry data, 802 coronavirus infections were confirmed in the 24-hour period ending Sunday evening.

That’s also the first time daily new cases have dropped below the 1,000-mark since very early in the country’s outbreak. Italy now totals 219,070 known cases.

There were 165 deaths because of the virus since Saturday evening, raising the number of known deaths of infected patients to 30,560.

Authorities say the real total is surely much higher, as deaths at home or nursing care facilities or personal residence aren’t counted if COVID-19 testing isn’t done, although many of those deceased may well have had the illness.

More than 280,000 killed by COVID-19 worldwide

280,000 people worldwide have died since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Nearly 85% of them in Europe and the United States.

The cases have recently crossed the four-million mark globally, with Europe being the most affected continent.

The United States recorded the most deaths (78,862), followed by the United Kingdom (31,855), Italy (30,560), Spain (26,621), and France (26,380).

Scotland wants to continue urging people to "stay at home"

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Sunday said she had asked the UK government to not deploy its new coronavirus messaging in Scotland.

This came after the British government replaced its “stay at home” slogan with a new “stay alert” message. Critics fear this might confuse people as to what's safe and what isn't.

"We mustn't squander our progress by easing up (the lockdown) too soon or sending mixed messages that result in people thinking it's OK to ease up now," said Sturgeon.

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"Let me be very blunt about the consequences if we were to do that. People will die unnecessarily."

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to make a televised address on Sunday evening to lay out the stages for lifting the lockdown in England.

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