U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday announced a delay to the further easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions in England for at least two weeks.
A relaxation of restrictions had initially been scheduled to take place over the weekend.
The move comes shortly after the government imposed restrictions across swathes of northern England following a rise in the rate of transmissions.
Among the changes, Johnson said wedding receptions of up to 30 people will no longer be allowed to happen from August 1, with bowling alleys, casinos and skating rinks to remain closed.
Face coverings, which are already required in shops and indoor transport hubs, will also soon be mandatory in more settings.
Speaking at a televised press conference in Downing Street, Johnson said it was time to “squeeze the brake pedal in order to keep that virus under control.”
He also warned, citing the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics, that “the prevalence of the virus in the community, in England, is likely to be rising for the first time since May.”
To date, the U.K. has recorded almost 304,000 cases of the coronavirus, with 46,084 related deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
The U.K. is second only to Russia for the highest number of Covid-19 infections in Europe.