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Turning local, British PM Johnson to unveil new coronavirus rules

EUROPE
By Reuters | October 12th 2020

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce new measures to tackle a growing coronavirus crisis today, moving to work more closely with local leaders from England's worst affected areas.

With Johnson reluctant to repeat a national lockdown that would further hurt a struggling economy, the government is trying to contain a surge in cases, as well as growing anger, in parts of northern and central England.

Robert Jenrick, Britain's housing minister, yesterday refused to detail the measures Johnson would announce, but suggested that more work would be done with local leaders. "In addition to the basic simple rules that apply to the whole country, we are designing a framework for those places where the virus is very strong," Jenrick told Sky News.

"We want the strongest possible working relationship now between central government and local government," he said, adding: "So it is right that we take action in those communities and design measures in conjunction with people who know those places best." Jenrick said local leaders would be more involved in contact tracing after the robustness of Britain's test-and-trace system has been repeatedly questioned, and that there would be more guidance on travel. The government might also have to address growing anger in northern England.

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