UK de­fends virus re­stric­tions; crit­ics say it’s too late

Chattanooga Times Free Press - - NATION/ WORLD/ POLITICS -

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.

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