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Face masks 'could become mandatory in busy outdoor areas' as cases soar

People could soon be forced to wear face masks in busy outdoor areas as the Government reportedly looks to crack down with tougher coronavirus restrictions.

Ministers are considering making face coverings mandatory in busy outdoor areas as London mayor Sadiq Khan calls for them to be worn in supermarket queues, The Sun reports.

It comes after yesterday saw the highest daily death toll since the pandemic began with 1,325 fatalities – up from the first peak’s worst day of 1,224 deaths on April 21.

This is more than double the number of deaths reported a week before – 656 – and the third day in a row that more than 1,000 people died with coronavirus, according to Government figures.

Mr Khan has also urged the Government to close places of worship as cases surge.

He declared a major incident in London on Friday after the infection rate in the city surpassed 1,000 per 100,000 people. 

More than 7,000 coronavirus patients are currently in the capital’s hospitals – nearly 2,000 more than the number of patients hospitalised during the first peak.

The Government is under pressure to enforce restrictions further from scientists and Labour politicians, according to reports.

When asked about Mr Khan’s push for places of worship to be closed, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove said: ‘It’s absolutely vital that traditions of public worship can continue, and I think it’s a very important part of the life of the nation.’

A Government source told The Telegraph: ‘There’s not a lot more that we can do. We’ve put in these very tough national restrictions. It is a lockdown for everyone all the time’ 

Sources also said scientists expect the virus to peak and then plateau ‘rather than a peak and decrease’. 

One said: ‘If the vaccination programme rolls out really effectively and the vaccines behave as well as they’ve done in trials, then you start to see a real opportunity to start easing things off a bit over the summer and spring.’

The Government has released an advertising campaign urging people to ‘act like you’ve got Covid’.

In a clip that will appear on radio, TV and social media, England’s medical officer Chris Whitty says: ‘Covid-19, especially the new variant, is spreading quickly across the country. 

‘This puts many people at risk of serious disease and is placing a lot of pressure on our NHS.

‘Once more, we must all stay home. If it’s essential to go out, remember: wash your hands, cover your face indoors and keep your distance from others.

‘Vaccines give clear hope for the future, but for now we must all stay home, protect the NHS and save lives.’

The Prime Minister has warned people to not become relaxed about coronavirus rules due to the ‘renewed hope’ the vaccine has brought. 

He said: ‘Our hospitals are under more pressure than at any other time since the start of the pandemic, and infection rates across the entire country continue to soar at an alarming rate.’

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