847 new cases in UK as PM Johnson announces hotels and restaurants may re-open early next month

A woman wears a face mask as she walks past a sign reminding customers to keep a minimum distance of 2 meters (6 feet and 7 inches) between each other at a Marks & Spencer store on Oxford Street in London, Britain, 16 June 2020. Non-essential stores have begun to reopen their doors across the UK, around three months after the government imposed a lockdown in a bid to stem the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes the pandemic COVID-19 disease. EPA-EFE/ANDY RAIN

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There were 874 new cases in the past 24 hours, taking the country’s tally to 306,210. 171 people died during the same timeframe, meaning 42,927 have now lost their lives due to Covid-19.

Today’s details were provided by PM Boris Johnson who also announced that pubs, restaurants and hotels could reopen in England early next month, easing the coronavirus lockdown that has all but shut the economy.

In other signs of a gradual return to normal life, hairdressers will open again along with tourist attractions like theme parks, but nightclubs, indoor gyms and swimming pools will stay closed.

Johnson has been under pressure from businesses, especially in the hospitality sector, and from members of his governing Conservative Party to relax the lockdown, but until now he had resisted for fear of prompting a second wave.

On Tuesday, he said with infection rates falling and little current threat of a second wave of COVID-19 cases, he could reopen swathes of the economy.

By relaxing the rule on social distancing from two metres to one metre-plus, with the ‘plus’ meaning measures like wearing masks and using protective screens, Johnson said many businesses could reopen from July 4.

“Today we can say that our long, national hibernation is beginning to come to an end,” he told parliament.

via Reuters / Gov.uk

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