U.K. Minister Defends Reimposed Restrictions

LONDON (AP) -
People wear protective masks as they walk through Manchester as the city and the surrounding area faces local restrictions in an effort to avoid a local lockdown being forced upon the area amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Britain, Friday. (Reuters/Phil Noble)

Britain’s health secretary has defended a decision to reimpose restrictions on social life in a swath of northern England.

Matt Hancock told Sky News that while he understands it is not the “sort of decision that anybody would want to take,’’ the government had to do whatever it could right way to prevent the coronavirus from spreading.

Under the new restrictions, people from different households in Greater Manchester, England’s second largest metropolitan area, have been asked to not meet indoors. The same orders applies to the surrounding areas of Lancashire and West Yorkshire counties.

Hancock told the BBC that “one of the terrible things about this virus is it thrives on the sort of social contact that makes life worth living.”

The affected region has a large Muslim population, and the restrictions come ahead of the Eid al-Adha holiday on Friday.