- The coronavirus lockdown in the UK will continue for at least another three weeks, and all restrictions will be extended until early May, Dominic Raab, the first secretary of state, said on Thursday.
- This means that the British will continue to be banned from leaving their home outside of a limited number of essential activities, and most businesses will remain closed.
- Raab also defined five tests to ease the lockdown next month.
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The UK foreclosure will continue for at least another three weeks, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government announced on Thursday.
Other European countries have started to cut back on lockdowns as the number of new coronavirus cases flattens.
But Dominic Raab, Britain’s first secretary of state, said that the strict social distancing measures put in place last month should be extended at least until the beginning of May.
Raab, who replaces Johnson while he is recovering from COVID-19, said any attempt to lift the UK foreclosure measures would lead to a significant increase in coronavirus cases and deaths.
“The very clear advice we have received is that any change to our social distancing measures would now risk a significant increase in the spread of the virus,” he said at a press conference in Downing Street.
“It would threaten a second spike in the virus and dramatically increase the number of deaths. This would reverse the progress we have made to date and, therefore, would require an even longer period of more restrictive social distancing measures. , ” he said.
Raab added: “Based on this advice, which we have carefully considered, the government has decided that the current measures should remain in place for at least the next three weeks.”
He called on the British to remain “patient,” adding that “now is not the time to give the coronavirus a second chance.”
Raab: “We have lost too many loved ones … to relax now”
—BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) April 16, 2020
The Johnson government introduced the lockdown on March 23 as the COVID-19 virus spread across the country.
Under the guidelines, the British are only allowed to leave their homes for essential reasons, and most businesses are closed. There is also a ban on large public gatherings.
On Thursday, Raab presented five tests that must be completed before the lockout measures can be lifted:
- The UK “must protect” the National Health Service’s ability to “cope”.
- There must be “a sustained and steady decline in daily death rates”.
- Official data should show “that the rate of infection is decreasing to manageable levels in all areas”.
- NHS testing and protective capacity must be able to meet future demand once restrictions are lifted.
- Officials must be convinced that any lifting of the restrictions “does not risk a second peak of infections that will overwhelm the NHS.”
The foreclosure measures have resulted in a dramatic drop in the number of people using vehicles and public transportation and an apparent flattening of the number of new COVID-19 cases.
Angela McLean, an assistant science advisor, said at a news conference on Wednesday that there is clear evidence of a “flattened curve” in the number of new cases.
Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer of England, said that the UK “was probably at the top.”
However, the number of coronavirus deaths in the UK has continued to rise – 13,729 people died on Thursday – and government science adviser Jeremy Farrar said over the weekend that the UK could become “one of the worst if not the most affected”. European countries. “
David King, the former chief scientific adviser to the United Kingdom, also criticized this week the slow response of the British government to the crisis.
“Why we didn’t react so soon after this epidemic broke out in China, I just don’t know,” said King, who advised the British government from 2000 to 2007.
“And I say that because in 2006 we published a report on the actions needed to deal with a pandemic, and in this report we showed that if an epidemic occurs of any new virus of this type, everywhere in the world, within three months, due to air transportation, it would be all over the world. And of course that is what happened – and it seems that we were unprepared and did nothing. ”