Sun, 06 Dec 2020

LONDON, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) -- Another 18,804 people in Britain have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 741,212, according to official figures released Monday.

The coronavirus-related deaths in Britain rose by 80 to 43,726, the data showed.

Earlier Monday, a Downing Street spokesman said coronavirus cases in the Greater Manchester area tripled over a two-week period and the entire intensive care unit (ICU) capacity in the region will be filled up with coronavirus patients in less than a month "if nothing changes".

"If nothing changes, we expect entire ICU capacity to be full of COVID patients by Nov. 8. Entire 'surge' ICU capacity in Greater Manchester to be taken up by Nov. 12," said the spokesman.

The remarks came as the local government remains in stand-off with the British government over the plan to impose Tier Three restrictions, the highest level of the three-tier coronavirus alert system, in the region.

Lancashire joined Liverpool in moving into Tier Three restrictions from Saturday. The "Very High" alert level means pub closures and bans on household mixing indoors, in private gardens and most outdoor venues.

Also on Monday, British Health Secretary Matt Hancock told MPs in the parliament that "we are doing everything in our power to suppress the virus."

Meanwhile, the Welsh government announced that the region will enter a circuit-breaker lockdown for 17 days from Friday to tackle a sharp rise in coronavirus cases.

The new coronavirus lockdown, which will come into effect from 6:00 p.m. BST (1700 GMT) on Friday, will see the closure of non-essential retail, leisure and hospitality businesses.

Under the new restrictions, people are urged to stay at home and work from home where possible. Household mixing will be banned both indoors and outdoors.

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

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

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