U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Friday he's pushing back the country's next stage of lockdown easing due to an uptick of new coronavirus cases.
"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," Johnson said. "On Saturday, the first of August, you'll remember we had hoped to reopen in England a number of the higher-risk settings that had remained closed. And today, I'm afraid, we're postponing those changes for at least a fortnight."
As of Friday, the U.K. had the ninth-most confirmed coronavirus cases in the world but ranked third in related deaths. As such, it will not move forward with plans to reopen venues like bowling alleys and casinos. Wedding receptions are also on hold, as well as plans to allow some people back into sports stadiums. The country's mask mandate will also be expanded to cover settings like museums and places of worship.
Johnson said the measures will be reviewed after two weeks.
The U.K. just reimposed restrictions in parts of northern England following a surge in cases. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he understood people were upset at the move but that "it is important to move quickly because the virus spreads, and you've got to make sure that you do everything you can do to keep ahead of it."