Around 19 people were arrested by London Police on May 16 for deliberately breaking social distancing guidelines in protest against the British Government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. This is the first weekend after British PM Boris Johnson slightly eased down lockdown ruled in the UK, allowing people to spend some time outdoors. This comes as the pandemic has infected 240,161 people and killed 34,466 across the British territory.
According to the Metropolitan police, demonstrators in Hyde Park came together to protest the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and had failed to comply with repeated requests to disperse. Laurence Taylor, Deputy Assistant Commissioner at the Metropolitan police reportedly said that it was “disappointing” that a relatively small group in Hyde Park came together to protest the regulations in clear breach of guidance, putting others and themselves at risk.
He added that officers also tried for a second time, taking a measured approach as they tried to engage the group to disperse. However, the group did not comply and continued breaking social distancing norms. Therefore, the police had to arrest 19 people while another ten were issued a fixed penalty notice, international media reported.
In the nation’s address on May 10, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed the “conditional plan” to reopen the country after being under lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19 disease. Johnson has declared that the people who were having trouble working remotely like the ones working in the manufacturing or construction industry, can resume work in their office spaces but are advised to avoid public transport to maintain social distancing.
Even though UK PM stressed the "Covid Alert System" with five levels that will determine the extent of lockdown, he hoped that the next step involving students to return to some schools will be reached “at the earliest by June 1”. It would also include the reopening of some shops but alerted that it would only take place if supported by science. According to reports, authorities have conducted 2,489,563 COVID-19 tests as of now in the country which houses 67,843,039 people.
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