LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce new measures to tackle a growing coronavirus crisis on Monday, moving to work more closely with local leaders from England’s worst affected areas.
With Johnson reluctant to repeat a national lockdown that would further hurt a struggling economy, the government is trying to contain a surge in cases, as well as growing anger, in parts of northern and central England. England’s deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam described Britain as being at a “tipping point”, saying the spread would soon translate into more deaths and that the country should act now.
Robert Jenrick, Britain’s housing minister, refused to detail the new measures the prime minister will announce but said they would focus on local areas. Johnson was expected to speak to ministers later on Sunday. “In addition to the basic simple rules that apply to the whole country, we are designing a framework for those places for where the virus is very strong,” Jenrick told Sky News.
“We want the strongest possible working relationship now between central government and local government,” he said, “So it’s right that we take action in those communities and design the measures in conjunction with people who know those places best.” Jenrick said local leaders would be more involved in contact tracing after the robustness of Britain’s test-and-trace system has been repeatedly questioned, and that there would be more guidance on travel.