British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is reportedly considering short-term closures of some businesses, including pubs and restaurants, across England amid increasing numbers of new COVID-19 cases.
Citing government sources, The Guardian reported Friday that Johnson is considering short-term lockdowns to give the country “breathing space” as cases begin to rise again.
The entire United Kingdom is reporting a seven-day average of 3,400 new cases a day, largely driven by increases in England, which has reported more than 20,000 cases in the last week.
According to The Guardian, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies is weighing a short-term period of closures that could last two weeks. Schools would be expected to remain open, according to the report, but hospitality industries may be asked to close or reduce hours.
Johnson’s spokesman told the British paper that he wants to avoid an “extended lockdown.”
“We’ve always been clear that our strategy is to keep the virus down as much as possible while protecting education and the economy,” the spokesman said.
“We are prepared to take action that is necessary, but we obviously want to avoid any extended lockdown.”