The UK is to remain in lockdown for at least a further three weeks foreign secretary Dominic Raab announced.
After announcing that the death toll due to coronavirus had risen to 13,729, Mr Raab, deputising for Prime Minister Boris Johnson: “Any change to our social distancing measures now would risk a significant increase in the spread of the virus. That would threaten a second peak of the virus and substantially increase the number of deaths.
Raab said: “Based on the advice the government has decided that the current measures must remain in place for at least the next three weeks.”
He said that there were five measures that the government would have to be satisfied with before measures were relaxed. They are:
- Ensure the NHS is able to cope
- A sustained and consistent fall in daily deaths
- Reliable information that the rate of infection is decreasing
- Confident that the tech challenges of testing and PPE are in hand
- Confident that any adjustments will not risk a second peak of infections that will overwhelm the NHS
He also 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.”