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UK PM Johnson rejects criticism of moving too slowly with COVID lockdown

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a press conference where he is expected to announce new restrictions to help combat the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, at 10 Downing Street in London, Britain October 31, 2020. Alberto Pezzali/Pool via REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday rejected criticism he had moved too slowly in introducing more stringent measures against COVID-19 across England, saying the lockdown was being put in place earlier than one in France.

“I reject any suggestion that we are somehow slower in taking measures than our European friends and partners,” he said.

“In fact we are moving to national measures when the rate both of deaths and infections for instance is lower than they were in France,” he told parliament, where he made the case for a new lockdown by saying the government had to avoid a “medical and moral disaster”.

Reporting by William James, writing by Elizabeth Piper; editing by Michael Holden