UK defends virus restrictions; critics say it’s too late
LONDON — Britain’s government on Tuesday defended its new three-tier system of COVID-19 risks and restrictions, but critics suggested it was too little, too late amid reports that the government’s own scientific advisers had recommended tougher action three weeks ago.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled the new system Monday in an orchestrated series of events that culminated with an address to the nation. The plan sets out progressively stricter measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, based on local infection rates, and put regions into three risk groups: moderate, high and very high.
The new system comes three weeks after the Conservative government’s last nationwide program, which banned gatherings of more than six people and required pubs and restaurants to close at 10 p.m. The government’s scientific advisers at that time recommended that ministers go further, suggesting a two-to three-week national lockdown to short-circuit rapidly rising infection rates.