Health

No chance of UK lockdown being lifted after three weeks, government admits

The government does not intend to lift the lockdown imminently – meaning it will stretch beyond the initial three week period.

Asked whether the Government had decided to extend the strict restrictions, Dominic Raab – who is deputising for Boris Johnson while the PM is in intensive care – said the worst thing the country could do was “take its foot off the peddle”.

When the lockdown was announced on March 23, Mr Johnson said the unprecedented measure would be reviewed after three weeks – meaning it would be reviewed at the start of next week.

But the UK is not in a position where it is safe to reduce the rules, the public was told.

Mr Raab said: “In terms of the review, we are not at that stage yet.

“We will take any decision when the time is right, based on the facts and the scientific and medical advice.

“Our number one and overriding focus right now is on conveying the key message which is that everyone needs to keep adhering to this guidance.

“There is a long Easter bank holiday weekend coming up, warm weather and we understand people are making big sacrifices to follow this guidance.

“It is helping, it is contributing to our ability to tackle the coronavirus.

“The worst thing now would be to take our foot off the peddle, to ease up on that and risk losing the gains that have been made.

Sir Patrick Vallance said the number of cases appears to be moving in the right direction (Image: Sky News)

“It is absolutely critical that people keep up that discipline and the vast majority will. We hope everyone will follow that example.”

The Government’s chief scientific officer Sir Patrick Vallance said the number of new cases “could be moving in the right direction” but it would not be clear “for a week or so”.

He told the daily Downing Street press conference: “It’s possible that we’re beginning to see the beginning of change in terms of the curve flattening a little bit.

“We won’t know that for sure for a week or so.

“There hasn’t been the accelerated take-off and again it’s possible that we’re beginning to see the start of a change where we might see numbers flattening off.

The lockdown is expected to last until June
The lockdown is expected to last until June (Image: EMPICS Entertainment)

“It does begin to suggest that things might be moving in the right direction in terms of numbers and it’s important that we carry on with the measures that we have got in place in order to make sure that this does go in the right direction.”

The four reasons you can now leave your home are:

  • shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible
  • one form of exercise a day – for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household
  • any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
  • travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home
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