The further easing of lockdown restrictions in England has been postponed for at least two weeks. 

From August 1, venues including bowling alleys and casinos were due to reopen across the country. 

At a press conference today, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that would now be delayed following a rise in cases. 

It comes after further lockdown measures were imposed in Greater Manchester and in parts of east Lancashire late last night. 

Face coverings will also be made mandatory in indoor settings where people are likely to come into contact with people they do not know, such as museums and places of worship, from August 8, Mr Johnson said.

The Prime Minister has said that despite progress being made in combating Covid-19, the UK cannot think it is exempt from a rise in cases.

At a press conference on Friday, Boris Johnson said: “I’ve also consistently warned that this virus could come back and that we would not hesitate to take swift and decisive action as required.

“I’m afraid that in parts of Asia and in Latin America, the virus is gathering pace and some of our European friends are also struggling to keep it under control.

“As we see these rises around the world, we can’t fool ourselves that we are exempt. We must be willing to react to the first signs of trouble.”

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), there has been an increase in the number of people testing positive for coronavirus in England.

According to the ONS, between July 20 and 26 there were around 0.78 new Covid-19 infections for every 10,000 people in the community population in England.

This is equal to around 4,200 new cases per day.

This is up from an estimated 2,800 new cases a day in the previous week.

In the same press conference, England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty warned that the UK has potentially reached a limit for how much of society can be opened up.

He said: “I think what we’re seeing from the data from ONS and other data is that we have probably reached near the limit or the limits of what we can do in terms of opening up society.

“So what that means potentially is that if we wish to do more things in the future, we may have to do less of some other things.

“And these will be difficult trade-offs, some of which will be decisions for government and some of which are for all of us as citizens to do.

“But we have to be realistic about this. The idea that we can open up everything and keep the virus under control is clearly wrong.”

Last night Secretary for Health Matt Hancock said people from different households would be banned from meeting indoors in Greater Manchester. 

From today, people will no longer be allowed to meet each other indoors in homes or in gardens, apart from those in their support bubbles.

Households may go to bars and pubs, but two households should not go there together.

The same rules apply to parts of East Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire as part of "immediate action" to keep people safe, Mr Hancock said.