LONDON: The United Kingdom recorded 1,441 new COVID-19 cases on Friday (Aug 14), the highest daily count since Jun 14, as the country prepared to reopen its casinos, theatres and stadiums.
This takes the UK's total number of COVID-19 cases to 316,367.
Daily cases have come in above the 1,000 mark for five of the last six days.
The UK's COVID-19 death toll rose by 11, taking its total fatalities to 41,358.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ordered the reopening of the economy in England to resume.
The move highlights the government's delicate balance between protecting the economy and preventing the virus's spread, coming at the same time as the announcement of quarantine on arrivals from France and tougher penalties for those refusing to wear masks.
"Today, we are able to announce some further changes which will allow more people to return to work and the public to get back to more of the things they have missed," he said.
His government announced that casinos and bowling alleys will be allowed to reopen after being shut during the lockdown, but that those not wearing masks face harsher fines.
Skating rinks can also reopen and pilot schemes of larger crowds at sporting events will be introduced following a two-week delay to the initial plans caused by a spike in cases.
Indoor theatres, music and performance venues will be able to reopen with socially distanced audiences.
BRITONS RUSH HOME FROM FRANCE
On Thursday, the UK announced it would impose a 14-day quarantine on all arrivals from France due to rising coronavirus infections there, sparking a rush among Britons to return home from their summer holidays.
Effective Saturday, the quarantine on arrivals from France gives an estimated 160,000 UK holidaymakers there just over 24 hours to get home to avoid having to self-isolate once back.
The government, wary of a second wave of the novel coronavirus, also added the Netherlands, Malta and three other countries to its quarantine list. Spain and Belgium were already added to the list in recent weeks.
ECONOMIC IMPACT OF COVID-19
Earlier this week on Wednesday, official figures showed Britain's economy shrank by a record 20.4 per cent between April and June when the coronavirus lockdown was tightest.
It was the largest contraction reported by any major economy so far, and a wave of job losses is set to hit later in 2020.