The UK lockdown currently in place due to the coronavirus pandemic has been extended for at least another three weeks.
Speaking at the daily Number 10 briefing today (April 16), Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab revealed that a review had concluded relaxing the measures currently in place 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.
Raab, who is deputising for Boris Johnson as he recovers from the coronavirus, said: “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. It would undo the progress we’ve made to date and, as a result, would require an even longer period of the more restrictive social distancing measures.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson. CREDIT: Leon Neal – WPA Pool/Getty Images
The news comes after the UK Prime Minister announced strict coronavirus lockdown measures for the country last month.
In a TV address from inside 10 Downing Street, Johnson revealed that from March 23, citizens must stay at home except to shop for food and medicine, for only one form of exercise per day, and to travel to and from essential workplaces.
Public gatherings of more than two people who do not live together will be prohibited, and the police have the power to shut down such gatherings, either through fines or forcibly dispersing gatherings. Shops selling non-essential goods are also set to be shut, following Johnson’s call for pubs, restaurants and bars to close.
Raab said the review concluded that the measures currently in place were working, but there was evidence the virus was spreading in hospitals and care homes.
Speaking to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said: “It’s difficult to imagine us getting together in the thousands anytime soon, so I think we should be prepared for that this year.”