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Britain struggles to avoid a second blockade

“It seems ironic,” said Jonathan Ball, professor of molecular virology at the University of Nottingham, “that after encouraging mass participation in pubs, cafes and restaurants through Eat Out to Help Out, we are now considering limiting or closing those declining assets. “

The latest signs of the virus’ resumption of march across Britain have left the government with little choice. The R number, a measure of how many people on average a single patient will infect, has risen to between 1.1 and 1.4, the government said Friday, meaning that on average every 10 people infected will spread the virus between 1

1 and 14. other people . Any number above 1 is a troubling indication that the epidemic is growing.

In the week ending September 10, around 6,000 new coronavirus cases occurred every day outside of hospitals and nursing homes in England, the official government statistics authority estimates, nearly a doubling of new infections from the previous week.

“We need to learn the lesson of spring,” Susan Michie, director of the Center for Behavior Change at University College London and a member of a government advisory group, said on Twitter. Every day the delay in implementing “measures to limit transmission when it increases exponentially will be costly in terms of health and lives in the short term and the economy in the long term”.

Mr. Johnson is considering what the BBC has described as two weeks of closure or limited hours for restaurants, pubs and other hospitality businesses. Scientists said the goal appeared to be to slow, but not stop, transmission of the virus by limiting risky and nonessential activities, such as eating in restaurants.

Some government scientists, however, are pressing Mr. Johnson to go further by imposing something closer to a full national lockdown, including school closures, for two weeks in October, the news said. By implementing closures around the October school holidays, scientists hope to limit the interruption of a freshly opened school year in early September.

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