- Social distancing rules set to relax as businesses prepare to open
Britain reported the lowest daily death toll in months on Sunday as the number of people testing positive for coronavirus is steadily showing an increase for a week.
However, the death toll in Europe as of Sunday morning showed 36 newly reported cases, which brought the tally to 41,698, the worst death toll in Europe and the third-worst globally after the US and Brazil.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Sunday announced "probably" fewer than one in 1,000 people now have coronavirus in the UK, hinting that the possibility of coming in contact with someone who is infected is now lower.
Speaking during a visit to a shopping mall in east London, Johnson said the dropping figures would provide the government with "more margin for maneuver" in easing the two-meter social-distancing rule as calls have been made to reduce it to 1 or 1.5 meters as many restaurants and shops are preparing to reopen for business.
As most of the shops will reopen from Monday, millions of Brits are getting ready to go back to work.
However, the R rate (the rate of infection) in some corners of the country is now above 1, according to various reports. New figures from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies showed on Saturday that the southwest of the country now has the highest R number within the country, which is between 0.8 and 1.1.
- The UK is heading towards serious economic crisis
On the other hand, the lockdown has had a massive impact on the country’s economy.
Britain’s economy shrank by a record of 20.4% in April as the first full month of the coronavirus lockdown set the country on course for the worst recession in more than three centuries. But even before the lockdown, the U.K. economy was struggling with figures in March showing the economy contracted by 5.8%.
The risk to the British economy is getting much higher than previously anticipated, as the government rules out a Brexit extension amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the BBC, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove said he had chaired a meeting with the EU Commission's Maros Sefcovic in which he said the "moment for an extension has now passed". "On 1 January 2021 we will take back control and regain our political and economic independence," Gove added.