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People's Daily Online

UK records another 25,161 coronavirus cases, 612 deaths

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 10:11, December 17, 2020

LONDON, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) -- Another 25,161 people in Britain have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 1,913,277, according to official figures released Wednesday.

The coronavirus-related deaths in Britain rose by 612 to 65,520, the data showed.

Earlier Wednesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged Britons to keep Christmas celebrations "short" and "small" to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus over the festive period.

Despite a surge in coronavirus cases, the British government has maintained its previous decision to relax restriction rules for Christmas, between Dec. 23 to 27, allowing up to three households to get together in homes and places of worship in England.

"When we say three households can meet on five days, I want to stress, these are maximums, not targets to aim for, and it's always going to be safest to minimize the number of people you meet," Johnson said in a virtual press conference in Downing Street.

"If that means you're visiting others, we're asking you, for the five days beforehand, as early as Friday, to reduce the number of people you're in contact with to the lowest possible," he said.

"A smaller Christmas is going to be a safer Christmas and a shorter Christmas is a safer Christmas," he added.

The British government is only responsible for coronavirus restrictions in England. The devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are responsible for their own policies in relation to public health matters.

In Wales, only two households plus an additional person who lives alone will be allowed to meet during the five days. In Scotland, people are being urged to only meet on one of the five days.

In Northern Ireland, proposals for further restrictions during Christmas are expected to be brought forward on Thursday.

England is currently under a three-tier system of coronavirus restrictions. The system put about 98 percent of England into the highest Tier 2 and 3.

To bring life back to normal, countries such as Britain, China, Germany, Russia and the United States are racing against time to develop coronavirus vaccines.

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