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21 Oct 2020 15:45
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  •   Home > News > International

    Boris Johnson apologises for incorrect advice as UK records highest daily number of coronavirus cases

    Boris Johnson apologises and corrects himself after giving out incorrect information on social distancing as the UK records over 7,000 cases of COVID-19 in the latest 24-hour recording period.


    British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been forced to apologise and correct himself after he gave out incorrect information on social distancing as the UK recorded its highest daily number of COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began.

    After an increase in cases in north-east England, which includes cities such as Newcastle, Sunderland and Durham, the UK Government has implemented tough new restrictions banning people in the affected region from meeting friends and family they they do not live with in pubs, restaurants and homes.

    They face fines of 6,400 pounds ($11,500) for non-compliance.

    There was no explicit announcement on whether the rules applied to meeting outdoors, so people wanted to know whether they could meet others they do not live with in places like a pub's beer garden.

    Education Minister Gillian Keegan had earlier admitted during a BBC radio interview that she did not know the answer, so Mr Johnson was asked to clarify.

    The Prime Minister instead incorrectly stated that people in the affected region could meet in homes or hospitality businesses, as long as they adhered to the "rule of six", but not outside.

    "In the North East and other areas where extra tight measures have been brought in, you should follow the guidance of local authorities, but it's six in a home or six in hospitality, but as I understand it, not six outside," he told a televised news briefing.

    At the end of the answer, Mr Johnson conceded it was confusing and backed the "common sense of the country" as a tool to help fight the pandemic.

    Mr Johnson took to Twitter later to correct himself after the jumbled response, saying he "misspoke" and offered up an apology for saying six people could meet in homes or hospitality businesses.

    The UK Department for Health and Social Services told the BBC that mixing with other households in outdoor hospitality spaces was not being made illegal, but went against the advice.

    Labour blasted Mr Johnson, with shadow justice secretary David Lammy saying the PM's "incompetence" was "putting British lives at risk".

    UK records highest daily case numbers

    Mr Johnson's apology came as the United Kingdom also recorded 7,143 new coronavirus cases, the highest daily number to date, and an additional 71 deaths, which is the highest number since July.

    The number of new cases is an increase of nearly 3,100 on Monday's figure of 4,044.

    The UK has now recorded over 42,000 deaths of people who died within 28 days of a positive COVID-19 test.

    ABC/wires

    © 2020 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved


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