UK seeking to move early on COVID-19, not spook people, minister says

A man wearing a face mask travels on a bus, as it drives past a mural created by artist Camille Walala, amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Leyton, London, Britain, September 29, 2020. REUTERS/Peter Cziborra/Files

LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government is not trying to scare people with COVID-19 restrictions but simply to move early in an attempt to limit the potential economic damage of a much more serious outbreak, a minister said on Thursday.

“We’re not really trying to scare people,” Environment Secretary George Eustice told Talk Radio. “What we’re attempting to do through this is to act early, and in a targeted way in response to local outbreaks.”

“We’re trying to strike this ... difficult balance of acting early in a targeted way rather than waiting for the disease to get fully out of control,” he added.

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge and Paul Sandle, editing by David Milliken