Coronavirus: UK lockdown extended for ‘at least’ three weeks
Lockdown restrictions in the UK will continue for “at least” another three weeks as it tackles the coronavirus outbreak, Dominic Raab has said.
The foreign secretary told the daily No 10 briefing that a review had concluded relaxing the measures now would risk harming public health and the economy.
“We still don’t have the infection rate down as far as we need to,” he said.
It comes as the UK recorded another 861 coronavirus deaths in hospital, taking the total to 13,729.
Mr Raab, deputising for Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he recovers from the illness, said: “There is light at the end of the tunnel but we are now at both a delicate and a dangerous stage in this pandemic.
“If we rush to relax the measures that we have in place we would risk wasting all the sacrifices and all the progress that has been made.
“That would risk a quick return to another lockdown with all the threat to life that a second peak to the virus would bring and all the economic damage that a second lockdown would carry.”
Mr Raab said the review concluded that the measures were working, but there was evidence the infection was spreading in hospitals and care homes.
He said five conditions needed to be met before the lockdown was eased:
- Making sure the NHS could cope
- A “sustained and consistent” fall in the daily death rate
- Reliable data showing the rate of infection was decreasing to “manageable levels”
- Ensuring the supply of tests and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) could meet future demand
- Being confident any adjustments would not risk a second peak
He said he could not provide a definitive timeline, but said the prime minister’s warning at the outset of the epidemic that it would take about three months to come through the peak still applied.
“We know it is rough going. Every time I come to this lectern and read out the grim toll, I walk away and think of their sons and daughters going through this right now, their brothers, sisters, grandchildren, all those left behind,” Mr Raab said.
“It makes this government focus even harder on what we must do and I know together, united, we must keep up this national effort.”
Source: BBC NEWS – bbc.co.uk
Coronavirus (COVID-19): what you need to do
- Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home)
- If you go out, stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times
- Wash your hands as soon as you get home
Do not meet others, even friends or family. Anyone can spread the virus.